Some Notes of Possible Relevance to Some Recent Unpleasantness Regarding Tolerance and Libertarians

I invite all fellow admirers of a tolerant, dynamic, vibrant, liberal, varied and growing world of ideas, expressions, and ways of being to consider, for a moment, that there may indeed have been some wisdom in that famous epigram said to sum up the spirit of Voltaire (though never, apparently, written by him in such words): “I disagree with what this man has said, but I defend to the death his right to say it.”

As ugly and embracing of intolerance as such an epigram may seem in practice, perhaps there are reasons, reasons vital to the flourishing of an interesting, varied, free world of expression, that those summing up the spirit of Enlightenment tolerance did not choose to express the appropriate attitude toward things said with which he disagreed—even strongly and passionately disagreed—like this: “I disagree with what this man has said, and I consider him evil for saying it; furthermore, I consider him having said it the most significant thing about him, and that it overshadows any other accomplishment or statement he has ever made. I fervently wish to have him driven from polite society, and consider that anyone who does not enthusiastically join me in so driving him to themselves be evil, or at least incredibly idiotic and not to be trusted—but don’t worry, I don’t think he should be arrested for saying it.”

It may be that the more famous saying indeed embodies the spirit of a lovable, valuable, rich world of discourse; and that the second one perhaps embodies a less open, free, and dynamic, and thus less valuable and interesting, world of discourse.

Also worth considering might be that libertarians in America have had, for reasons that might be somewhat understandable on reflection, to cultivate (perhaps to a fault) that original Voltairian spirit, as unpopular as it is in America. Among libertarians’ intellectual background is the likes of Nock, who believed that it wasn’t enough for a judge to refuse to convict girls for walking naked down the street; that true liberal freedom meant no one even noticed. Also, of course, in libertarians’ intellectual background is Mises, who wrote that “Liberalism…must be intolerant of every kind of intolerance,” but that statement might be seen to have a strange loop in it.

Libertarians have a set of peculiar beliefs about the proper use of force, generally based in a moral vision as well as a vision of human wealth, happiness, and flourishing. They consider their ideas of liberty and free markets salubrious, even glorious. They also find that almost everyone around them—generally including dearly beloved friends and family—hews to an alternate set of beliefs about what is proper and how to treat other human beings, beliefs utterly opposed to theirs in important respects. Indeed, the very common view that it is proper to use violent force against nonaggressors is one that the libertarian could fairly, from their perspective, consider evil.

And yet, somehow it rarely seems proper to the libertarian to hew with grim consistency to some of the conclusions about how to behave in the social world that might follow from that. They have never managed, for the most part, to be sternly and angrily opposed in high moral dudgeon to most of the people around them.

Indeed, looking at those who have chosen that path, they see models that seem inappropriate There seems something worth mocking and rejecting in the traditional Objectivist’s sense of a duty to practice harsh lordly disdain and refusal to truck with those who reject reason and liberty for irrationality and evil. Neither does it seem prudent or lovely to most libertarians to emulate the driven-to-his-compound-with-guns style of the man who decides to finally and firmly remove himself from the statist world’s endless evils of theft and oppression, back to the wall, prepared to fight if need be to show how he refuses to give any sanction to evil ideas—and evil practices.

For reasons perhaps difficult to articulate in a raw moral calculus, such ways of dealing with ideas—and practices!—that harm innocents by the millions seem even to most libertarians unlovely and impractical. It would lead to a social world, as long as they have failed to educate the rest of the world around them in libertarian principles, too ugly and divisive to warmly embrace. Such a hardline approach of complete moral disavowal and disengagement from people who advocate bad ideas is generally eschewed, even when those ideological differences aren’t merely about words or thoughts, but actuate in what the libertarian sees as actual theft, assault, tyranny, and murder on a daily basis.

This might shed some light one why many American libertarians tend toward such serious and dedicated classical Voltairianism, even when the rest of the world thinks them foolish, misguided, or evil to think, and behave, in that overly tolerant manner.

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  • Joe Allen||

    by Phil Manger
    (Libertarian)
    Try, for just a minute, to imagine the following scenario. The New Republic, or some other stronghold of neocondom, has just discovered the website of the church Ron Paul has been attending for the last 20 years. At the very top of the site's home page is the following statement:

    We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian...Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are a European people, and remain "true to our native land", the mother continent, the cradle of civilization...We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a White worship service and ministries which address the White Community.
    It doesn't take a lot of imagination to guess what would follow. The story would be on all the evening newscasts, the neocon and Beltway libertarian talking heads would be all over the cable news channels expressing their disgust, and even the paleolibertarians would jump ship. No explanation he could offer would be acceptable. Ron Paul's campaign would be dead.

    But if you just change "White" to "Black" and "European" to "African" you'll have the exact words that appear at the top of the home page of the website of the Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago church that Barack Obama has been attending faithfully for the past 20 years. Yet, so far the media - with the exception of a few conservative columnists - have given Obama a pass on his connection with this church.

    The terms "racism" and "racist" are thrown around so much these days that they have effectively lost all meaning. Well, not all meaning. In fact it's very simple if you just remember that racism is what lies at the root of one's opponents' thoughts and actions, while one's own thoughts and actions arise from only the purest of motives.

    The charge of "racism" is most often made by the Left against the Right. However, increasingly - and distressingly - conservatives are hurling the "racist" epithet at their opponents on the Left. There are so many examples of this, it is not necessary to provide links to them. Just Google "Alberto Gonzales" and "racist" to find some examples. Or go look up what some neocons have said about Ron Paul.

    When Wolf Blitzer was questioning him about his old newsletters on CNN last week, Dr. Paul said "Libertarians are incapable of being racists, because racism is a collectivist idea". I don't know that I agree with the first part of that statement, but Dr. Paul should be forgiven because he was being ambushed with a question and had only a few minutes to answer it. (A much better exposition of his views on racism can be found on his campaign website.)

    I think a libertarian can be a racist because I think anybody can be a racist. I don't mean a hooded, cross-burning, night-riding racist; just someone for whom race is a factor, however minor, in his or her personal decision calculus. Most people naturally prefer the company of people who are like themselves in most ways. They might not require the exclusive company of others like themselves, but they also don't want to associate exclusively with people who are very different.

    Thomas Schelling, a Nobel laureate in economics, once proposed a game. Get a roll of pennies, a roll of dimes and a large sheet of paper divided into one-inch squares. Distribute the coins one per square on the sheet of paper, leaving about a third of the spaces empty. Adopt a rule: assume each coin wants at least some proportion - say, a third - of its neighbors to be of the same kind. Now find a coin for which the rule is not satisfied - i.e. less than a third of its neighbors are of the same kind - and move it to a square where it is. Repeat this step until all coins are on squares that satisfy the rule. When you get to this point, you'll find that the pennies have tended to cluster with other pennies, while the dimes are clustered with other dimes.

    Under the rule adopted, these coins are very open minded - each is willing to live where up to two-thirds of its neighbors are of another "race". Nevertheless, the end result of this "invisible hand" process is that most end up living where all of their neighbors are the same.

    The point of the game is to demonstrate how a pattern of racial segregation can result from the individual decisions of people whom hardly anyone would accuse of being racist. Which is one of the reasons the charge of "racism" is one that is almost impossible to defend against.

    A person accused of being a racist can usually clear his or her name with the accuser only by agreeing with the accuser. Last week on The Huffington Post Earl Ofari Hutchinson demanded that Ron Paul issue "a clear and direct public statement...that says I fully support all civil rights laws, will work hard against racial and gender profiling, and will push government economic support initiatives to boost minorities and the poor" as the price for being absolved of the charge of racism.

    In other words, the only way the libertarian Dr. Paul can prove he's not a racist is to abandon libertarianism and adopt Hutchinson's statist policy prescriptions. That's like telling a Christian televangelist whose assistant had swindled viewers that repentance and restitution are not enough - he has to renounce Christianity if he wants to be forgiven.

    The significant point about libertarians and racism is not that a libertarian can't be a racist; it's that, in a true libertarian society, racism is irrelevant. A libertarian government would not have the authority to enact legislation that favors one racial or ethnic group at the expense of another because it would not have the authority to enact legislation that favors anybody at the expense of another.

    Nor would the government have the authority to enact legislation to correct the results of "invisible hand" processes like Schelling's game. In fact, the mere attempt to do so would be not only racist, but futile as well.

    An example of the futility and racism inherent in using the police power of the state to correct racial discrimination - intended or otherwise - resulting from individual decisions are laws prohibiting racial discrimination in employment. Since the hiring decision is multidimensional, a racist manager could claim any number of reasons for rejecting an applicant of the "wrong" race. Hence the need for affirmative action if the law is to achieve its desired effect. But, since affirmative action requires basing the hiring decision on race, it is itself racist (and most probably in violation of the law it is meant to enforce).

    One of the silliest things a politician or pundit can say is that she/he opposes affirmative action, but supports laws prohibiting racial discrimination in employment. You can't have one without the other. If you don't believe it, consider this: age discrimination is against the law, too, yet it's rampant in the workforce. Just ask any computer programmer over 40. The difference is, there's no affirmative action based on age. Ron Paul is probably the only Presidential candidate in either party who understands this.

    There are, of course, people whose attitudes about race go far beyond just feeling more comfortable around people who are like themselves. But is that necessarily something to get alarmed about? As long as they're not harming or threatening anyone else, why should we care? If they choose to act out their hatred by harming people of another race, then the government can act. Otherwise the government is trying to read minds.

    Racism and racist are words that, through overuse, have lost their sting. They are what you say when you have nothing else to say. Probably the best thing for all of us would be to banish them from the language. Certainly, they add nothing constructive to political discourse.

  • Joe Allen||

    How does the Ron Paul candidacy threaten the journalists, think tankers, and academics who live and work along the Orange Line in Washington, D.C.? The answer is straightforward analysis of economic incentives, with some common cultural patterns thrown in.

    Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul's platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work. Even partial success (for example influencing other candidates into advocating deeper tax cuts to win Paul supporters, or motivating more Congressional candidates to run on an anti-tax and anti-war platform and thus creating a libertarian base in Congress) would harm economic interests in their social circles. Furthermore, there would be far fewer spoils for the lobbyists to lobby over, and fewer important articles for the journalists to write about D.C. politics, so they'd suffer personally as well as socially.

    There are also "economic preferences" in politics not reflected in money - desires for power, desires to "change the world", etc. (These two motivations are easily interchangeable near the Orange Line). D.C. attracts people from all over the country with strong preferences along these lines. These, too, would be hurt by a growing success of anti-tax libertarianism. To the extent Ron Paul succeeded, they would be less able to shut down the madrassas and save Muslim women from the dastardly Muslim male. They'd have less control over oil. They couldn't provide all Americans with health insurance. And (keeping in mind this is only one of many motivations) they couldn't provide as much protection for Israel. Generally speaking, practically everybody who came D.C. did so to get the federal government to solve various problems they are passionate about. They feel very strongly about these: much more strongly on average than people who do not live near the Orange Line. Success by Ron Paul or his acolytes would start stripping away from them the power they believe they need to solve these problems.

    Remember, Paul ranks right up there with McCain, Huckabee and Romney for the 18-29 year old vote. Paul has come very close to winning a plurality of that vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, ranking far ahead of Thompson and Giuliani for the young vote in all three. Paul ranks ahead of _all_ the other Republican candidates in Internet searches and search results. Contrary to myth this represents not "spam" but just the high concentration of Paul supporters on the Internet, comparable to the high concentration of Democrats in the mainstream media (MSM). Both the Internet and MSM are unrepresentative slices of American political opinion.

    But the Internet is growing at the expense of the MSM and Paul represents a large chunk of the future of Republican politics. The MSM, including its political bureaus along the Orange Line, finds the Internet threatening. Orange Line bureaucrats think of "radical" libertarians (i.e. those who would eliminate the income tax with no replacement) as maniacs out to destroy their jobs. Ron Paul brings these two fears together.

    Moving beyond economic incentives and to human cultural patterns, the Orange Line crowd are a tribe, a monoculture defending itself from an alien tribe that is hostile to them, namely libertarians who don't like how the federal tribe makes it's living (via skimming off their paychecks). It's tribal warfare.

    All in all, it would be extremely surprising if the Orange Line did _not_ try to attack Paul. The only surprising thing for me has been to observe how much Orange Line "libertarians" are culturally aligned with the Orange Line rather than with anti-government libertarians.

    This analysis has been a straightforward matter of economic incentives with some common human cultural patterns thrown into the mix. This economic analysis gets obscured because, on the one hand, those not privy to the workings of D.C. can only describe it metaphorically in terms of conspiracy theories. The Orange Liners laugh them off the stage. But the economic analyses in their rough form sound a bit like the conspiracy theories, so they too are shouted down by the bullhorns of the Oranger Liners and those who parrot their authoritative opinions. They are laughed off as "conspiracy theory" before the analysis can even start to begin. Most of the MSM when it comes to political issues, and even much of the "alternative media" like Reason Magazine and the Orange Line bloggers, are part of the Orange Line culture. Using these Orange Line bullhorns to make fun of or smear independent thought and independent sources of political power is one of the main levers of federal power.

  • Joe Allen||

    If a person cared about liberty, why would they be eager to mindlessly repeat smears about the most popular libertarian candidate in decades on the very day of the most crucial "king-making" primary in the United States? Yet that is exactly what a number of popular "libertarian" bloggers did that day. The Ron Paul Newsletters are voluminous and even a small fraction of them could not possibly be read in the very few hours that passed between the posting of the actual newsletters (the afternoon of the 8th) and the smear campaigners' posts (also the afternoon of the 8th). All of these "hit and run" blog posts, except Kirchick's original, must then be based on Kirchik's piece rather than on actual reading and analysis of the newsletters. Clearly the purpose of these posts was not to initiate a thoughtful discussion of the newsletters, it was to spin libertarian voters on the most crucial election day short of the November general elections.

  • Joe Allen||

    Political correctness is a very strong signal of statism. In the mind of a statist, something is either required or banned. Either homosexual behavior is banned or it is required that everybody respect homosexual behavior. Either races are discriminated against by law or it is required that everybody treat races as equal in their own decisions. Statism, exemplified by its ideology of political correctness, recognizes no middle ground where all preferences and tastes can be respected by law. In the world of the statist, racial equality under law cannot occur without expunging private racial discrimination by screaming taboo and force of law, nor can homosexuals "be equal" unless everybody is forced to recognize homosexual marriages.

    In a world of liberty homosexual freedom and "homophobia" would coexist. Racial equality under law and racial discrimination in personal decisions by those who prefer such discrimination would coexist. Neither side would need to feel politically threatened by the other. All persons could satisfy their preferences, whether "vices" or "bigotry" or otherwise, as long as they are not initiating force. But this is not the wolrd the "cosmopolitan libertarians" want. They demand not just eradicating legal restrictions on their own vices - an opinion on which all libertarian agree - they demand that we in the suburbs and the rural areas and anybody else who does not share their tastes recognize what many of us choose to believe are vices, for example homosexual "marriages", adultery, and use of addictive drugs, as virtues. If we do not, they will lash out at us with the most viscious kind of hate as if we were trying to ban their vices. This is "very small tent" libertarianism since, as Ron Paul is demonstrating, the vast majority of libertarians are of the rural and suburban type, not of the urban "cosmopolitan" type.

    By eagerly participating in the politically correct smear campaign against Ron Paul on the very day of the traditionally most crucial primary, New Hampshire, many in the beltway "libertarian" / "cosmopolitan libertarian" crowd have revealed their true anti-libertarian, pro-government colors. Some of these are just what Tom Paine called "sunshine patriots and summer soldiers", Benedict Arnolds who switch sides at the first signs of trouble. But most have just lived around D.C. so long that they have become statists in their hearts. By getting so worked up about about somebody else's personal preferences and opinions about race and homosexuality - which they choose to view as vices, as is their right - during the middle of the election campaign, they have demonstrated a preposterously strong streak of political correctness and thereby revealed a strong statist instinct.

    Only a statist believes that the middle of an election campaign, much less the very day of the traditionally most important primary, is the best time to publically air the possible personal vices of libertarian candidates, in order to distract attention away from that candidate's political views and smear him. Indeed, this has always been the statist's favorite tactic for smearing anti-government types in older organizations like the John Birch Society. Now everybody with no personal memory of the matter accepts the "bigotry" of the JBS as historical gospel - the legacy of liberal and National Review-type MSM statists who then controlled the memetic agenda. The beltway "libertarian" smear campaign against Ron Paul is repeating almost exactly the tactics that statists like Bill Buckley pulled against the small-government JBS and the anti-interventionist Taft wing of the Republican party a generation ago.

    In the statist world of the "cosmopolitan libertarians," only cosmopolitans get to satisfy their preferences and tastes (or as some others choose and should be free to choose to view them, vices) in the marketplace. Statists in their guts, the "cosmopolitan libertarians" view any differences in values as political threats. Suburban and rural preferences and tastes, whether vices (like racism and homophobia) or otherwise must therefore be shouted down and banned, and even the most ardent libertarian like Ron Paul for whom it is suggested might hold any such values they view as a political threat. That is why so much effort has been put in by, not just the straightforward enemies of liberty in the pro-war crowd, but even by some anti-war DC "cosmopolitan libertarians", to sabotage Ron Paul's campaign.

  • jkii||

    There seems something worth mocking and rejecting in the traditional Objectivist's sense of a duty to practice harsh lordly disdain and refusal to truck with those who reject reason and liberty for irrationality and evil.

    Ayn Rand's essay Apollo 11 comes to mind. She delights and marvels at the rational accomplishment of the mission while being highly critical of the irrational means by which it was funded.

  • Joe Allen||

    Ron Paul: Now for the piling on

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Beltway libertarians use Congressman's old newsletters as excuse for dumping on him. Some perspective.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    by Phil Manger
    (Libertarian)
    I guess we should have expected it.

    The Beltway libertarians, those polished public intellectuals at Cato and Reason, have been falling all over themselves the past few days in an effort to distance themselves from Ron Paul following the "outing" of his old newsletters last week by The New Republic. Not that they were ever that close to begin with. The Cato gang never liked Dr. Paul, and the folks at Reason only warmed up to him after his campaign began to catch fire on the internet. Now, their blogs are full of I-told-you-sos, denunciations, and warnings of dire consequences for libertarianism.

    Typical of these was David Boaz, Cato's executive vice-president, who told the world that "...over the past few months a lot of people have been asking why writers at the Cato Institute seemed to display a lack of interest in or enthusiasm for the Paul campaign. Well, now you know." Even Radley Balko, a Reason editor and former Cato policy analyst whose research on police misconduct made him one of the few shining lights among the Beltway libertarians in recent years, has joined the lynch mob. You can find links to dozens of other similar comments here.

    Interestingly, all of them say they don't believe Dr. Paul is really a racist, and most of them say they believe him when he says he didn't write the articles in question. In fact, their real target seems to be something they call paleolibertarianism, a branch of libertarianism that has its center of gravity at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. And the man they really seem to loathe is the institute's president, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Ron Paul is merely collateral damage.

    I should point out at this point that I really have no firsthand knowledge of any of the details of the mutual animosity that exists between the Beltway libertarians and the paleos. I only know that it exists and that it runs deep. I was a libertarian activist from the mid-'60s until the early '80s. I then decided to get a life and, except for an occasional blog post or attendance at a meeting, I was pretty much out of it for the next quarter century. It was my son who urged me to support Ron Paul in his run for President. (I didn't deliberately raise him to be a libertarian. Do you suppose it's genetic?) I did a lot of Googling of Ron Paul's name, and...well, here I am.

    So, what about those newsletters? According to The New Republic article, the newsletters reveal "decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays". Actually, that's a gross overstatement. It's more like a careless phrase or choice of words here and there - sometimes very careless, and sometimes even mean.

    What the newsletters remind me of is the "gold bug" marketing in the early '70s. The "gold bugs" - those who believed that the dollar was destined to continue to lose value - were a mixed bag: conspiracists, libertarians, John Birchers, survivalists (of both the Left and the Right), racialists, and some who just wanted to turn a quick profit. Following the dollar's devaluation in 1971 a number of businesses and newsletters appeared on the market to capitalize on the uncertainty of the times. They sold their wares, whether precious metals or newsletter subscriptions, by instilling fear and serving up red meat to the gold bugs. I remember attending one precious metals "seminar" in 1974. A black couple was sitting near me. When the speaker got to the part about riots in the cities and a breakdown of civil authority, I could see that the couple were extremely uncomfortable. They left before the end of the presentation.

    For whatever reason, Ron Paul has a very bankable name in that market. The International Harry Schultz Letter, the granddaddy of all the gold bug newsletters, prominently features a plug from Dr. Paul on its webpage. So it would make sense that a newsletter bearing Paul's name, aimed at gold bugs or their like, would be profitable.

    So, did Ron Paul write that awful stuff posted on TNR's website? I'm a former writer and editor and also a former college professor who got to be pretty good at sniffing out plagiarism in student papers, and I have to say I very much doubt it. It isn't at all like Ron Paul's style of writing (you can go to the Mises Institute website, where there is an extensive archive of Dr. Paul's writings, if you don't believe me), and there's nothing in his voting record over 10 terms in Congress to suggest those are his views. I don't find it at all implausible that someone would use his name to sell subscriptions to a newsletter written and edited by others.

    But I agree with Alex Wallenwein and Bill Westmiller that we need to know who did write that objectionable material so that we can move on. Otherwise, this stuff will come up again and again.

    However, I am not so naive as to think that this will mollify the Beltway libertarians. In their writings on this controversy, I've detected a barely suppressed undercurrent of glee, as if they're trying to keep from shouting "Aha! Gotcha now!" They say they are concerned about what all this is doing to the reputation of libertarianism - although, it seems to me they're more concerned about what it's doing to their own standing in Georgetown - but I think they doth protest too much.

    If the Beltway libertarians are really concerned about the reputation of libertarianism, let them take a look at what they're saying about Ron Paul over on the Left. Although they like his antiwar, pro-freedom message, a lot of the bloggers over there don't care for the fact that he's a libertarian. You see, they equate libertarianism with the Cato Institute. And to them, Cato is just another D. C. think tank laboring in the service of the corporate elites.

  • Kolohe||

    God dammit JA you're a worse fuckwit than the dot product of TLB and Dondero to the Googleplex power.

    But I suffer you this once and point out something I did on McArdle's blog.

    Political correctness is a very strong signal of statism. In the mind of a statist, something is either required or banned. Either homosexual behavior is banned or it is required that everybody respect homosexual behavior.



    No, you miserable, vomitous mass, this last sentence logically should be "Either homosexual behavior is banned or it is required." Period. End of sentence.

    Of course, (and sorta back to the post) I defend your right to say whatever the fuck you want, even if you are a spamming asshole

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Of course, (and sorta back to the post) I defend your right to say whatever the fuck you want"

    Take it back. I think in this case, it's perfectly fine to say... Joe Allen, shut the fuck up. Please.

  • Joe Allen||

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    The highest circulation libertarian periodical in America has joined the racist smear dog-pile on Ron Paul, or maybe they started it. It seems pretty damn suspicious Kirchick went out of his way to absolve The "libertines" at Reason and the "urbane libertarians" at Cato from any connection to Dr. No in his original TNR hitpiece. CATO is a beltway think tank. Both Cato and Reason have said from the beginning that Dr. Paul "can't win," so now they have a huge incentive to try to make their predictions come true. Funny also how the newsletters were unearthed from the Univesity of Kansas library, the university where Charles Koch, CATO funder, is a major patron.

    They also guarantee themselves facetime on every cable news program in the country where they can spin their cowardly abandonment of the most pro-freedom candidate in decades as independence. They are so pure, that for them any libertarian candidate pragmatic enough to get elected is not idealistic enough to be worthy of office. The are shocked, SHOCKED to discover that the dumb things printed in old Ron Paul newsletters--things they have been aware of for months if not years-- were actually not ALL of the dumb things.

    What's different about the new revelations? The context! Candidate Paul is gaining traction, so now his decades-old, well aired editorial lapse of judgement is evidence that he is dangerous, not quaint. But wait, if he can't win, why is he so dangerous?

    Letting a bunch of xenophobic rot appear in his old newsletters actually does reveal something about Ron Paul. It reveals that he faults on the side of trusting people too much, rather than not enough. As a publisher, he foolishly trusted his editor to actually edit. Letting this go on for years is evidence that he is too tolerant of people and ideas he does not agree with. He has insufficient support for the thought police that keep this country on the track it is on. He naively believes that exposing people to unpopular ideas is beneficial, not harmful and that people can detect faulty resoning for themselves.

    It's a good thing he can't win.

  • Joe Allen||

    I traded a few emails with Reason Magazine's Matt Welch recently.

    Unlike almost everybody, I actually read reason magazine, at least I did until now. I have a copy next to the computer here as I type. I check the Reason website about a dozen times a day.

    When the old newsletter non-story broke on the day of the New Hampshire primary, Reason very abruptly quit singing his praises and joined the MSM howls of condemnation.

    It was BECAUSE of their coverage on Dr. Paul that I suspect an attempted swiftboating.

    Reason has covered Dr. Paul often and fairly until the TNR story broke the day of the NH primary. The mainstream pack dogs smelled blood and Reason, far from fending them off, was ringing the dinner bell. Cursory critism was directed at Kirchick for opportunism, and then the wholesale abondonment of presumption of innocense.

    It was shocking to me that Reason was taking the same angle as everyone else instead of seriously questioning the relevance of the story and the direction of the spin. I read the newsletters. They were not good, but not terribly damning either and wouldn't have been news at all if they carried the name of a less reputable person. Dr. Paul's sterling reputation is what makes this bemish stand out. McCain actually says stuff on camera worse than some of the material found in the Ron Paul reports, but Reason treats the "revelation" as if it had the same magnitude of finding a corpse in Dr. Paul's trunk!

    Reason's justification for hanging Paul out to dry seems to be this: They are trying to protect the reputation of libertarianism by crucifying the most poular and influential libertarian in our lifetimes! You see, he lent his name (for profit) to a publication that didn't print church hymns and therefore he must be burnt at the steak. Trading on one's own name would seem to be a libertarian idea, but the Reason gang is throwing fuel on the pyre and basking in the glow.

    Why? Why would Matt, Nick and Radley join the ugly chant that "someone's gotta pay?" These guys are smart enought to know that witchhunts don't stop when a witch is found.

    A journalist has two main responsibilities: to report the facts, and to determine which facts to report. The facts should be timely, relevant and newsworthy. At best the old newsletters only met one of the three criteria.

    Reason readers count on a pro-liberty perspective, but Reason showed none in this case. If I was on staff, I would have written something like this: "Attempted Smear Greeted by Yawns" or "Skelletons in Congressman's closet finally found."

    The media has enormous power to frame the debate. Putting facts into context is as important as accuracy. Reason failed it's readers, the public and libertarianism spectacularly, by joining in the feeding frenzy and even leading the charge.

    Reason's rationale of joining the bloodsport to "protect libertarianism" falls so flat they can't even look us in the eyes while they mutter it. Assuming the absolute worst that Dr. Paul wrote every ugly word in those newsletters himself and believed them in his heart of hearts, he would still be by far the most libertarian candiate in this election and every previous one since 1988 when he ran the first time.

    For Reason's rationale to have any merit at all, they would have us believe that any candidate pragmatic enough to get elected was insufficiently idealistic enough to be worthy of office. It can reasonably be asked if Reason serves the establishment more than libertarianism by giving us false representation in the fourth estate and drowning out smaller, more legitimate voices for freedom.

    Simply put: I don't like them or trust them anymore. I don't believe you should either.Reason has every right to take what they consider the high road, but to me it is a stupid self-righteousness.

    According to Reason, Ron Paul is aligned with Lew Rockwell who is aligned with Pat Bucchanon who is aligned with somebody somewhere who is a racist.

    How many Kevin Bacon degrees of separation are required before someone is "pure" enough to be a legitimate spokesman for libertarianism??

    Again I think their strategy and/or their morals are slef-defeating. It's like Groucho Marx's line that "I would never wan't to belong to a club that would have me as a member."

    The holy reasonoids are claiming that the politically successful strategy persued by Paul is too pragmatic for them to support. As an alternative they offer...nothing.



    Billy Joe Allen
    Truckernomics
    Nolanchart.com

  • ||

    The Rondroids have apparently decided to try to stifle comments by flooding the place with very long messages all off the topic. The issue is not the media. The issue is not whether other people are bad or the whether you like the people who wrote the truth about Paul. The issue isn´t even whether anyone who was involved in the story supports the war. The issue is whether or not Paul was the publisher -- that is undisputed -- or the author, which is diputed, of bigoted articles. If Paul didn´t write them who did?

    Libertarianism has a different standard than other philosophies. We preach individual rights, social tolerance and freedom. If we have bigots in the midst we have the right to know it and to condemn it. We are not shutting them up, they are free to be bigots. But we also have the right to shut them out.

    The Rockwell types engage in big lies which I´ve seen over and over. People who I personally know are called neo-cons and war mongers for supporting the war in Iraq. Yet in truth they never supported the war. Rockwell´s legion of Rondroids spread the story around that these ¨beltway¨ libertarians were supporting the war even when they most explicitly were not. But oppose this bigoted ass and suddenly you get smeared by Rockwell -- which is one reason they scream smear the moment their actual writings are exposed. They practice smear so often that they assume everyone else does as well.

    Libertarians support Rockwell´s right to be a bigot and to print hateful newsletters. And if Ron Paul was stupid enough to help in that venture that is his problem. We have the right to expose the truth and reject the bigots. They may want to work with hate groups on Far Right but most libertarians don´t. Now that the Rockwell bunch have been exposed they are reacting with hysteria. Shame on them.

  • Joe Allen||

    It was Me

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ok, I admit it. I was the ghostwriter of the Ron Paul Newsletters.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    by Billy Joe
    (Libertarian)
    I am the ghost writer of the racist homophobic xenophobic sexist old Ron Paul newsletters. Dr. Paul hired me to "write something interesting," but I was a a disgruntled Navy veteran with post traumatic stress disorder, ADHD and a heroin addiction, so it wasn't my best work. I can't even remember if I believed any of that crap or not, but ever since I found Jesus, I have learned that having any unpopular beliefs is a sin. I hope this clears everything up.

    I am greatful for the watchdog media's service to humanity by exposing this issue. Sophmoric namecalling in print is a bigger problem than the fiscal suicide bomb of unfunded entitlement programs, monetary collapse, perpetual occupation and war. We now know this because the media has told us so. Thanks. Now, can we get on with important issues like Britney's dress choice for the Grammies? Please?

  • ||

    Nice post, Brian. Sometimes I think the contradictions inherent in libertarianism makes it a far better personal philosophy than a political one.

    Fuck politics, I'm gonna go make something.

  • ||

    It is partly a matter of communication: people pick up on nuances even when they aren't there. (As annoying as it is to have to tailor one's speech to the biases of listeners,) qualifying a point more than once makes it sound like you don't really stand by the point.


    Personally, I was attracted to libertarianism in part because I felt it was a political philosophy that did not require one to be a jerk.

  • ||

    I was getting really sick of the newsletter posts, and thinking of not logging on here for a couple of weeks until the BS and hairshirts were shed, but this post seems to add something relevant to the discussion. Thanks, Brian.

    Here's my take: I wander around all day long hearing and reading people who hold this alien and evil philosophy that wholesale theft and systematic abridgment of our rights are good and noble things. They want to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can buy, what kind of gas mileage our cars must have. They have no problem with temporarily enslaving us to serve on juries. Until recently, they enslaved us, put guns in our hands, and made us kill strangers we have no grudge against. Their latest contemplated power grab is to take over about a sixth of the economy and force us to have our health care rationed by bureaucrats.

    I could go on and on. In the face of this pervasive, insidious evil, we have just one presidential candidate who is willing to try to roll all this back. And then, on the day of a make or break primary election, a hit piece comes out, and this magazine supposedly devoted to liberty takes the bait and runs with it, and then beats the issue to death in article after article, long after the rest of MSM has either ignored it or given it a light going over during a single news cycle.

    So, to the Reason staff I say: Enough. Stop kicking a good man when he is brought down by a sucker punch delivered by one of the people who have bought into this pervasive, evil philosophy. It's sickening. Give it a fucking rest already.

  • M||

    Thanks, Brian, for phrasing things so nicely, and early for St. Valentine's Day.

    The features you highlight seem consonant with, though certainly not exclusive to, "primitive"/pacifist/esoteric Christianity, without which one might wonder how the ancient Roman Empire would have developed.

  • SIV||

    I fervently wish to have him driven from polite society, and consider that anyone who does not enthusiastically join me in so driving him to themselves be evil, or at least incredibly idiotic and not to be trusted

    Cosmotarian identity politics

  • ||

    Brian,

    Thanks for taking this out of the realm of horse-race politics (we all know our entry is a bit of a nag anyway) and saying something useful. Extremely thoughtful, provocative and well-written. I compare this to the disappointing, simplistic observations of Matt Yglesias (pandering to racists makes Ron Paul a Racist) and other folks across the political spectrum.

    Well done.

    Sam MacDonald

  • Sulla||

    Nice post, Brian. Sometimes I think the contradictions inherent in libertarianism makes it a far better personal philosophy than a political one.

    I basically agree. Minority parties have the luxury of being very concerned about commitment to ideals. One big issue for any libertarian party is the extent to which it is willing to compromise. I'm not as familiar with the LP as most people on the board, but I get the sense that it is not _as_ willing as the Democrats and Republicans to accept different moral codes. That is, while you can identify broad philosophical similarities among the groups making up the DP and RP, to the extent that their members consider moral philosphy, neither party is focused on any one. You can find consequentialists, Kantians, Pragmatistics, various Christian ethics, etc. in both parties. Certainly some philosophies are more represented in each party, but neither party identifies itself with one specific moral code.
    If/when libertarianism takes on a larger role in US politics, it will almost certainly face a situation where its followers must decide how willing they are to accept the actions of fellow citizens who do not believe in the personal philosophy of libertarianism.


    I gotta go to work, but hopefully I'll be able to finish my thought later.

  • Eric Dondero||

    And rewind just a mere 3 to 4 weeks ago right here at Reason H&R. The handful of us who were warning about Ron Paul and his ties to fringe movements, and past fringe statements were slaughtered by the the Paul fanatics. Savage attacks on our character, and use of silly names to denigrate us.

    Now we've been proven correct.

    Do you see any Mea Culpas from this crowd?

    I've seen one, from a guy named Andrew Taylor. And a couple "maybe Dondero (and they others) were right" by a couple others. And that's it.

    I think some apologies are owed to those of us who were raising the flag for the last few months.

    When that's done, perhaps we can return to some civil discourse Brian.

  • Sheldon Richman||

    Brian, it is one thing to associate with nonlibertarians to, among other things, get them to see the wisdom of libertarianism. It is something else to express their nonlibertarian ideas as one's own. Isn't that part of the controversy surrounding the Ron Paul newsletters? This isn't about tolerating the intolerant; it's about pandering to the intolerant.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Billy Joe Allen of Nolan Chart gets it completely wrong. He's writing this off as Ron Paul being associated with Lew Rockwell who is associated with Pat Buchanan, blah, blah, blah.

    Uh-uh. This is a common mistake that almost everyone is making.

    RON PAUL! was responsible for much of that material in those Newsletters. From what I witnessed, at least 30 to 40%.

    And it was RON PAUL who attended fringe meetings and hung out with fringe characters in the quasi-racist, certainly Separatist movements all those years. I don't remember Lew Rockwell joining Paul on any of those excursions.

    And it was RON PAUL who had the copies of SpotLight Magazine sitting in piles all over his office in Clute, Texas.

    It was Ron Paul, who wouldn't leave the office on a campaign trip without first picking up the latest copy of Spotlight to read on the way to Austin.

    The Paul fanatics like Allen, want to just write this off as Lew Rockwell suckering Ron Paul into association with quasi-racists. Rockwell certainly is culpable. But his best buddy Ron, was just as if not more responsible for this movement to the fringe.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Funny comment coming from a non-libertarian like Sheldon Richman. A Leftist posing as a "libertarian" like Richman has the audacity to diss real libertarians.

    He's one of the ones who needs to apoligize to those of us who've been screaming at the top of our lungs for months now: BE CAREFUL ABOUT RON PAUL!

    And Reason readers should know, that as good a job R and TNR, Economist, et.al have done on this story, they have merely scratched the surface.

    One respectable Political Blog, non-partisan and Centrist - DonkeyElephant - this morning has a piece touching on Paul's financial irregularities with past campaigns and the Newsletters.

    Reason just mentioned this in passing. None of the others even brought it up.

    All the articles have just thus far, scratched the surface. Those who stick with Paul need to be called on the carpet now, and weeks from now, when more becomes exposed.

  • DavidS||

    such serious and dedicated classical Voltairianism

    Can anyone give me a brief definition so I can 'tend' towards it more effectively?

  • alisa||

    I was hoping that Paul's success story would bring libertarian ideas more into the public discussion. The disappointing thing is that we're always going to have some bad company in the form of racist libertarians. And it's natural -- though maybe not logical -- to judge by association. A lot of people didn't vote for Reagan when they suspected him of pandering to racists. If it's "intolerant" to think an idea is wrong, and to express one's view, then it's the very mildest kind of intolerance and I like having it around.

  • ||

    Dondero,

    "I think some apologies are owed to those of us who were raising the flag for the last few months."

    The only thing you were raising the flag about were your differences with Paul on foreign policy. When did you ever "raise the flag" about this issue? The level of shit that you were getting here was rooted in the fact that many here think you are a fucking neocon. I doubt that has changed much.

  • ithaqua||

    "It may be that the more famous saying indeed embodies the spirit of a lovable, valuable, rich world of discourse; and that the second one perhaps embodies a less open, free, and dynamic, and thus less valuable and interesting, world of discourse."

    It may be. But, you know, it's actually not. There's no actual contradiction between the two quotes you offer; I can firmly believe that white supremists, for example, should be ostracised from polite society, and that the people who urge me to seriously consider that blacks are inherently less intelligent, more violent, more criminal, etc., than whites are either evil or stupid, AND YET still defend, absolutely, their right to express such beliefs. I am not infringing on anyone's free speech by shunning them based on the content of said speech, nor am I doing so by encouraging others to likewise shunning them. The right to free expression does not include either the right to an audience or freedom from the consequences of the ideas expressed; moreover, one does not create a more "lovable, valuable and rich" discourse by refusing to condemn utter gibbering crap when it is promulgated.

    You could argue, fairly, that the policies which Paul supports are beneficial enough that his other flaws should be overlooked. Fine. But please don't try to pretend that those of us who see something revolting, disappointing and dangerous in Paul's willingness to pander to white supremists are somehow anti-freedom or anti-free speech by, you know, judging Paul based on the ideas to which he lent his name.

    Also, what Sheldon said. Libertarians do, indeed, live sociably and peacefully among people who advocate policies and beliefs the libertarian finds abhorrent. On the other hand, libertarians do not generally support advocates of said abhorrent beliefs for public office. It's kind of like, oh, supporting Giuliani over Paul due to the belief that a hard line on "Islamofascism" benefits libertarianism more than his other unlibertarian beliefs and policies harm it.

  • Jacob||

    Did Reason ever mention the utterly unfair characterization of the Mises Institute in the Kirchik piece? Unlike Reason, I waited to form my judgment of the matter because I knew half of what Kirchik wrote was a blatant smear. Interesting how Reason didn't even wait long enough to get another perspective before jumping on the story.

  • ||

    And rewind just a mere 3 to 4 weeks ago right here at Reason H&R. The handful of us who were warning about Ron Paul and his ties to fringe movements, and past fringe statements were slaughtered by the the Paul fanatics.

    Man (and woman) is a political animal...political behavior exists in all areas of life, not just in our system of government...in that way, each of us is tied to some fringe idea, even if it is only expressed in our purchase decisions...suggesting that the only 'pure' politicians are those that have no links to fringe ideas flies in the face of human nature on this planet...don;t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • Jacob||

    I agree with the post. I have a racist friend, and I haven't disowned him. I argue with him, as a classical liberal should. He argues that there are clear statistical correlations between black communities and crime (there are) and that this is due to biological/genetic/essential factors (there is less evidence for this). I argue that black crime statistics are due to culture and that there is nothing biological about it. If a black child grew up in a good family, he would be less likely to commit crime, as would his children and his children's children. We agree to disagree, and move on to another topic.

    What does it say to the racists if nobody will even discuss the topic with them? It says that the mainstream is intellectually bankrupt and afraid to show it by defending racial equality in a debate.

    Just to let you know, if I ever run for President, I have associated in the distant past with vile right-wing racists. Hopefully I won't be stupid enough to let them write in a newsletter with my name across the top.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    For me, being accepting of the differences of others is a big part of why I am a libertarian. I guess this makes me a cosmotarian (I saw the word was banned on an earlier thread and decided I'd better get a use in) or a cosmoanarchocapitalist, but I like the idea of a lot of people being able to live differently, regardless whether or not I think it's wise. This includes those that choose to live a more socialist lifestyle as long as they don't demand others do the same.

    As one example, of course I would never want to live in a commune of the intentional community variety. These are places in which your house is only nominally yours and can't be sold except with permission, and places in which the homeowners association charges its own taxes. However, since the joining of these sorts of communities are entirely voluntary, I'm glad that they exist. I'm not just neutral on their existences. I actually like the idea of people out there living in different, coercion-free and generally harmless ways, even economically foolish ones.

  • ||

    Dondero wants to front, like he actually said anything about this.

    Rittberg was being taken to task for being a trolling foreign interventionist and a quasi-militarist.

    no mea culpa for you, DOOOOONDERO!

  • Erich Donero Bullrich||

    Go fuck yourself, Eric, hedonist neocon. You are owed nothing.

  • Torch||




    Most of all he needs the funk (shine it)
    Help him find the funk (ha, funk it)
    Most of all he needs the funk
    Help him find the funk (get him)
    Most of all he needs the funk (I know we can get him)
    Help him find the funk (ho)
    Most of all he needs the funk (ha, don't)
    Help him find the funk (I know you will Dance, sucker)
    Most of all he needs the funk (shine the spotlight on him)
    Help him find the funk (oh funk me)

    Ha-da-da-dee-da-ha-da-ha-da-da-da
    (Dance, Nose You know you on my funk street)
    Oh, funk me
    Ha da da dee da hada hada da da (get on down
    Nose I like it Dance, then)

    Flash light
    Flash light (oh-ho-ho)
    Spot light
    Neon light (neon light)
    Street light (street light)

    Oh-ho, ha-ha

    Everybody's got a little light under the sun



    http://org.ntnu.no/booty/mp3/funk2come/flashlight.mp3

  • ||

    For the fifth time in a little over a week, I am compelled to agree with Eric Dondero. When everyone here was all atwitter over Ron Paul, Dondero was the lone voice of sanity. He told us there'd be embarrassment, if Ron Paul got anywhere near enough support to make him a threat. He told us Paul had skeletons in his closet, and, as an ex-staffer, he had reason to know.

    But we didn't listen to him, and now his predictions appear to be coming to pass. Mea culpa, Eric.

  • ||

    It seems to be the case that libertarianism was used to pander to racists and bigots as a point of strategy, and that is just unacceptable.

    It's one thing to say that the government shouldn't force people to do things they don't want to do; quite another to hold libertarianism up as a solution for racists and bigots, so they can apply their views more effectively.

    If you can't tell the difference between condemning government coercion and the stupidity of racists and bigots, something libertarians should continue to oppose, even in Libertopia, then don't be surprised to find that libertarians everywhere find your presence among them embarrassing.

    Don't be surprised to find that we're ashamed of you.

  • ||

    Fuck politics, I'm gonna go make something.

    *tips hat*

  • Sulla||

    For me, being accepting of the differences of others is a big part of why I am a libertarian. I guess this makes me a cosmotarian (I saw the word was banned on an earlier thread and decided I'd better get a use in) or a cosmoanarchocapitalist, but I like the idea of a lot of people being able to live differently, regardless whether or not I think it's wise. This includes those that choose to live a more socialist lifestyle as long as they don't demand others do the same.

    This is what attracted me to libertarianism, but lately I'm not so sure about to what extent libertarianism as a moral philosophy is compatible with libertarianism as a political philosophy. I never thought of libertarianism as a universalist philosophy (i.e., one that it's followers believe is the best choice for all people), but the vehemence of some of the posters on past threads about certain issues makes me wonder.

    I really, really hate to sound like Dan T (whatever happened to him), but imagine that the U.S. was a country more like what prolefeed wants (prolefeed, I'm not trying to pick on you, you just happened to provide some concrete examples in this thread). If the U.S. had no mandatory jury service, but an overwhelming majority of people wanted a mandatory jury service system, who wins? Would it be evil for the majority to impose such a system on the minority? I agree that a system where every whim of the majority becomes law would not be preferable, but at some point people should be able to live under the government that they want. Finding the right balance is not easy; no country is really even close. If libertarianism was the governing philosophy of a country, that country would eventually have to decide to what extent it can impose libertarian values on non-libertarian citizens.

  • Rimfax||

    I smell a fresh ban baking. I'd like to say that I'll miss Joe Allen, but I won't.

  • alisa||

    Jacob -- I'm with you there. I have a "racist" friend too -- at least he's friendly to the "maybe there are biological differences" line of thought. I do think it's better to engage someone in a discussion than to call him a name. But when you're not on personal terms with the newsletter-writers, there's no way to address them directly. Only thing you can do is express some general disgust for that kind of rhetoric.

  • now what||

    Interesting new twist: an article about the RON PAUL NEWSLETTERS that contains none of those words...

    Anyway, Reason dudes/dudetttes: I like you guys. I really do. I've been reading you for five-ish years. So help me out here.

    After all, you sort of got me into this Ron Paul mess in the first place. It was in part your favorable coverage of his candidacy (cover story, videos, talking him up on O'Reilly Factor, etc.) that contributed to my hopping on the rEVOLution's wacky bandwagon despite my discomfort with some of Paul's stances on issues about which honest men (including many of the Reason writers) may disagree (immigration, abortion, gold standard, black helicopters).

    So now we've got Newslettergate, and Reason is distancing itself from Ron Paul -- and as much as I want to buy the campaign's "old news, let's move forward" response, it's still harder to justify keeping that RP bumber sticker on my car, maintaining Ron Paul links all over my blogs, and contemplating how much money I've sent to the guy on those once exhilarating "money bomb" days.

    Assuming that many Reason folk previously considered more-or-less endorsing a vote for Ron Paul in the primaries, and assuming that Newslettergate has revealed too much unsavory stuff to continue supporting his campaign ... now what?

    Is there a "second choice" you could get behind? Do you suggest sitting out the primaries (again) and waiting to see what the Libertarian Party comes up with for it's under 1% of the vote candidate this time around?

    Seriously... help me out. Before Feb. 5, please.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Would it be evil for the majority to impose such a system on the minority?

    I say yes. Of course I tend to be more of an anarchist than do most libertarians, and I tend to be libertarian for moral rather than pragmatic reasons, so I'm not even in favor of majority rule. As a government system (completely divorced from the positions the wielders of power take), I'd say Democracy is better than Oligarchy which is better than Autocracy. My views on Federalism are similar (again, divorced from the positions of those in power); it's better than Centralization, all told. But none of them is a substitute for freedom.

    If libertarianism was the governing philosophy of a country, that country would eventually have to decide to what extent it can impose libertarian values on non-libertarian citizens.If libertarianism was the governing philosophy of a country, that country would eventually have to decide to what extent it can impose libertarian values on non-libertarian citizens.

    I don't see that they have to. If they are actually governing by libertarian values, they won't be imposing anything on anyone (other than whatever the particular group of libertarians agree is the absolute minimal, essential function of government). For example, the mandatory jury service system you describe would not exist, but there's no reason people couldn't set up some sort of (probably local) voluntary version.

  • ||

    now what,

    There is only one candidate to support in the primaries. 'None of the above'.

  • ||

    "Is there a "second choice" you could get behind? Do you suggest sitting out the primaries (again) and waiting to see what the Libertarian Party comes up with for it's under 1% of the vote candidate this time around?"

    If only there was a "None of the Above" option on the ballot!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Is there a "second choice" you could get behind? Do you suggest sitting out the primaries (again) and waiting to see what the Libertarian Party comes up with for it's under 1% of the vote candidate this time around?

    If I were going to vote (which I won't), that's what I'd do. Of course the only way I'd ever vote is as a protest vote so the under 1% doesn't really worry me - it's not a bug, it's a feature! I'm about as far from pragmatic or utilitarian as you can get.

  • VM||

    Once again, Jake Boone shows a level of class and guts that are appreciated!

    well played, Sir!

    now what: find out for yourself. Your first strategy didn't seem to work for you. Or stick with it, if you believe the "that's in the past". Or if you actually believe the d00d had any libertarian bone in his body...

  • ||

    now what:

    You can always write yourself in as a candidate in the general election.

  • Episiarch||

    Who is this Ron Paul fellow? Never heard of him before.

  • now what||

    Yeah, unfortunately I'm one of those misguided people who find "not voting" to be an unacceptable option...

    Thus my principled "wasted votes" for Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, etc.... over the years.

    eh

  • VM||

    now what - I see we have followed similar patterns. But voting local issues is always good. 'Cept hier in Chikago we don't always get asked... and the gov makes William J. LaPetomane seem honorable.

    *hangs antlers in disgust*

  • ||

    Jinx!

    Hey, seriously though, I think there's still an open question about how to vote. I suppose it's possible for some people to still vote for Ron Paul, maybe Lettergate for them just means they won't be supporting Ron Paul publicly any more and won't be making any more donations.

    I don't think I can do either. Like a lot of libertarians, I blab a lot, to the point where a lot of people ask me how I'm voting, and I won't tell people one thing and then do something else.

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Dondero doesn't help himself by questioning Sheldon Richman's libertarian credentials. Get real.

    The point Sheldon makes is the one I'd make too. It's one thing, as a libertarian, to defend the right of racists to say racist things and even if we as individuals choose not to associate with them, we should still be vigilant in defending their right to free speech.

    However, when people calling themselves libertarians are pandering to racists and either outright saying or strongly implying that such beliefs are part of what it means to be a libertarian, then it's a whole other issue. (And I use "racism" as a cover term for all kinds of odious stuff.) Then libertarians who find such views offensive have every right to engage in a more aggressive sort of shunning and one that suggests that presenting such arguments *as libertarian arguments* is not a position that can be tolerated.

    To me, when self-proclaimed libertarians suggest that racist views are part of libertarianism, it feels just like someone is calling me a racist. Not only is it false, it does damage to my name and reputation, and I feel justified in saying "you're wrong and shut the hell up."

    As one example, it troubles me no end that there seems to be a generation of young libertarians who believe that it is part of libertarianism to defend the South in the Civil War. (Obligatory caveat - this does not mean I think Lincoln was a saint, ok?) Such an argument need not be racist but it certainly can be, or can be easily misconstrued that way. In any case, libertarianism per se requires no such view of the Civil War.

    The problem here is what I've called "libertarian contrarianism," by which I mean the belief that some libertarians seem to have that if you are libertarian, you must reject all "conventional wisdom." Hence, some libertarians attack those who attack racism, deny evolution or deny/minimize the Holocaust, defend the South/attack Lincoln in ways that can't be supported by historical scholarship, etc.

    It's the mindset of a 16 year old who just assumes everything his/her parents say is full of shit. (Trust me, I have one of these creatures.) Pandering to racists etc has reduced pieces of the libertarian movement to intellectual adolescence. The newsletter fiasco might be our cue to be more consistently grown up.

  • ||

    I suppose I should go over to Liberty and tell them that I'm canceling my subscription.

    I don't subscribe to Liberty, but after all the years of paleo-types coming over here and saying they were going to cancel their subscriptions to Reason, it only seems fair...

  • Fluffy||

    Yesterday I talked about how deceitful douchebags are using the occasion of the newsletter scandal to try to "smuggle in" and accomplish other argumentitive goals, using the approach of talking about these goals in the same breath as the newsletters.

    That douchebag Earl Hutchison mentioned above was one of the examples I had in mind.

    Dondero is definitely one of the other examples. Because of his self-admitted desire to practice genocide against Muslims, he now hates Ron Paul, because Paul opposes his genocidal aims and threatens to alienate enough Republicans and libertarians from the party of torture's ultimate nominee to have an impact on the likelihood of Eric's murderous and sadistic desires being further fulfilled in the future. Eric is really happy about the newsletter scandal, because it allows him to attempt to accomplish a handful of other goals:

    1. It allows him to argue that he was "right all along", even though the newsletter stuff was always a trivial part of what he posted here about Paul. We can go back and check the threads - Eric's primary and repeated concern was not that Paul would associate libertarianism with racism, but that he would associate it with pacifism and "anarchism". [Eric defines anarchism as anyone who doesn't want to submit to Giuliani-style fascism lite.] Over and over Eric bellowed that because he stood in the snow to collect petitions one day back in 19whenever, he wasn't going to let "his movement" be associated with not wanting to exterminate Muslims. Everyone here knows this is true.

    2. It allows him to promote other names as "the face of the libertarian movement", despite the fact that just about all of those names are garden-variety Bush conservatives.

    3. It allows him to try to promote additional smears about "financial irregularities", confident that no one will examine them too closely now that the first scandal has scored a "hit", and despite the fact that all reputable [i.e. not using Dondero as a source] information seems to indicate that Paul was the VICTIM of financial impropriety during the 1988 campaign.

    And has anyone noticed the simple fact that all during the time period when Paul was supposedly this evil moustache-twirling racist, Eric happily continued to work for, to work with, and to associate with him just the same? If we were to take Eric's twisted and slanted version of events at face value, by Eric's own statement he was happy to be an associate of Paul's when Paul was fomenting race war, he was happy to be an associate of Paul's when Paul slept each night in a coffin lined with anti-Semitic agitprop, he was happy to be an associate of Paul's when Paul would "force" him to "dress up" and "pretend" to be a Jew, and he was happy to be an associate of Paul's when Paul was involved in "financial impropriety" - and only decided to not be associated with Paul when Paul's reaction to 9/11 was to - correctly - predict that 9/11 would lead to shocking abuse of human rights and civil liberties. All those other stories Eric makes up? Just fine and dandy by Eric. Correctly predicting the future on 9/12, instead of slobbering at the prospect of deliberately killing civilians for revenge, as Eric admits he did and still does? Not acceptable to Eric. Judge everything Dondero posts on that basis.

  • Elemenope||

    who wrote that "Liberalism…must be intolerant of every kind of intolerance," but that statement might be seen to have a strange loop in it.

    See, and here I was still stuck on the Hofstadter reference, and someone went and furiously threadjacked what should have been an interesting discussion.

    Bastards! I shall not tolerate you!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    VM - LaPetomane was a fine executive. He was just misled by some unprincipled advisors.

    A transcript that I think you'll find enlightening:

    Hedley Lamarr: Repeat after me: I...
    Men: I...
    Hedley Lamarr: ...your name...
    Men: ...your name...
    Hedley Lamarr: [to himself] Shmucks.
    [continues aloud]
    Hedley Lamarr: ... do pledge allegiance...
    Men: ...do pledge allegiance...
    Hedley Lamarr: ...to Hedley Lamarr...
    Men: ...to Hedy Lamarr...
    Hedley Lamarr: That's *Hedley*!
    Men: That's Hedley.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    Dondero, maybe you would get your apology if you had been trying to do a service to humanity without being a fucking prick. But your main concern is DONDERO, so don't act like you did anything for anybody else. It's been really nice not having you around here the last couple weeks; would you please do us the pleasure of your absence?

  • ||

    Wow, Fluffy. If you're going to get all excited about everything Dondero's saying, then maybe you need like a vacation of something?

  • ||

    I've been trying to stay out of this idiocy, but this is just bullshit:

    Letting a bunch of xenophobic rot appear in his old newsletters actually does reveal something about Ron Paul. It reveals that he faults on the side of trusting people too much, rather than not enough. As a publisher, he foolishly trusted his editor to actually edit.

    No, it shows, in the best case, that he didn't care enough about what was being published under his name to actually read it. To never fucking read your own publication isn't trust, it's laziness, lack of responsibility or lack of caring.

  • VM||

    HEAD THEM OFF AT THE PASS?

    I HATE THAT CLICHE!!!!!

    So... Hedley actually the silent but deadly LaPetomane pen? IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!!!

  • Steve Horwitz||

    One more thing...

    As someone who also had raised doubts about Paul before the events of last week, I don't want any apologies like Dondero. All I ask is that those of you who are now having second thoughts about Paul look for new people and places in the libertarian movement to channel your energy and resources, and ones that you are more certain represent the sort of libertarianism that you would be proud of.

    Such organizations are out there and they do make a difference at all points in the libertarian "structure of production" - from academia (Institute for Humane Studies or Foundation for Economic Education) down to places like the Institute for Justice fighting it out in the courts, not to the more prominent ones like Reason and Cato.

    I cannot recommend a major party candidate to support who is more libertarian than Paul, but for those of you who are voters, do think about supporting the LP candidate, assuming they don't nominate another nutjob.

    A turd vs a douche is bad enough. Let's hope the LP doesn't give us the third choice of a used condom.

  • Sulla||

    I don't see that they have to. If they are actually governing by libertarian values, they won't be imposing anything on anyone (other than whatever the particular group of libertarians agree is the absolute minimal, essential function of government). For example, the mandatory jury service system you describe would not exist, but there's no reason people couldn't set up some sort of (probably local) voluntary version.

    My concern is that unless you have a population with that is more homogenous philosophically than any other ever seen before, eventually the philosophies collide.

    Let's take a quick look at a libertarian country with a minimal level of government. There is a group of collectivists who create their own town. Everything within the town is private property. Everyone in the town consents to the "management" of an elected group of their fellow citizens, the Board. This Board is essentially the equivalent of a neighborhood association. They impose rules on the community, really anti-libertarian ones. No pot, no abortions at any time, no free speech, no short skirts, mandatory church attendance, mandatory vegetable gardens in backyards and mandatory sharing of those vegetables, private schools that teach creationism, etc. They believe that criminals should be (among other things) shamed in stocks in the town square. Now, EVERYONE in the town accepts and consents, by means of contracts and covenants, etc. What's more, people are completely free to leave. The Board buys you out at a fair price and you go your merry way.

    What happens with the first outsider gets caught smoking weed in the town square, or walks down the street in a bikini. Sure, there's implicit consent to abide by the rules of the community, and they are on private property. The Board puts them in the stocks. What does the Libertarian government do? Either they let the Board dictate the rules of the community and essentially become the de facto government of that town (accepting "evil" within that part of their territory), or they go in, "rescue" the person from the stocks, and impose their values on the people of the town.

  • ||

    Unless something very odd happens in the primaries, I'm planning on writing the same name I did in 2004: Batman.

  • Fluffy||

    Wow, Fluffy. If you're going to get all excited about everything Dondero's saying, then maybe you need like a vacation of something?

    Eh, the post is a bit long, but it really wasn't that much effort. Ever since Eric admitted that he wanted to see war crimes and deliberate genocide committed after 9/11, these denunciations of him have basically written themselves.

    I also don't want the occasion of the newsletters to be Eric's big chance to rehabilitate his reputation, so I combined a bunch of well-worn Dondero criticisms into one big post and threw it out there. It wasn't that much more effort than a cut and paste post would have been. Nothing to require a vacation or anything.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    And if you need more convincing of how LePetomane was misled, examine this not-so-innocuous transcript of a meeting in the midst of the various scandals that eventually brought down his administration:

    Hedley Lamarr: Meeting adjourned. Oh, I am sorry, sir I didn't mean to overstep my bounds, you say that.
    Governor William J. Le Petomane: What?
    Hedley Lamarr: Meeting is adjourned.
    Governor William J. Le Petomane: It is?
    Hedley Lamarr: No, you say that, governor.
    Governor William J. Le Petomane: What?
    Hedley Lamarr: Meeting is adjourned.
    Governor William J. Le Petomane: It is?
    Hedley Lamarr: Here, sir, play with this.
    [Hands the governor a paddleball]

  • Fluffy||

    The Board puts them in the stocks. What does the Libertarian government do?

    This is an interesting question, and boils down to whether you think people can contract to submit themselves to physical abuse, and must then submit to it even if they change their minds.

    If you think that they should be able to make such a contract, then intervening to remove the person from the stocks would be wrong. But if you don't think they should be able to make such a contract, then intervening would be right.

    After all, you stipulated in your example that people can leave whenever they want. If that's true, if the person they're keeping in the stocks wants to leave, they have to let him leave, and if they don't allow him to leave I can come and get him.

  • Episiarch||

    Unless something very odd happens in the primaries, I'm planning on writing the same name I did in 2004: Batman.

    So you're a DC party member? As a Marvel party member, I say fuck you and will vote for Dr. Doom.

  • ||

    Sulla,

    The disintegration of the social contract produces this situation right now.

    But, more to your point... The libertarian government does nothing and the guy's friends and family rescue him, by force if necessary. You don't have to recognize rules you don't agree to in that situation (for victimless crimes.) Sure, it's a little wild west but the scenario you're talking about is kidnapping. That's not a victimless crime, and all bet's are off.

    Sort of like that 14-year-old beating that burglar with a baseball bat.

  • Matt Welch||

    When Wolf Blitzer was questioning him about his old newsletters on CNN last week, Dr. Paul said "Libertarians are incapable of being racists, because racism is a collectivist idea". I don't know that I agree with the first part of that statement, but Dr. Paul should be forgiven because he was being ambushed with a question and had only a few minutes to answer it.

    Kirchick talked about his story on Tucker Carlson's show Jan. 7. The story itself came out Jan. 8. Dave Weigel asked Paul about it Jan. 8. Wolf Blitzer's interview -- which was all about the newsletters -- was on Jan. 10. Also, it's an issue that came up again and again in 1996, so you'd think a guy running for president would have had time to prepare questions about past controversies.

  • ||

    Brian -
    Well thought out post, indeed.

    I find myself constantly battling with what it means to be tolerant of other peoples' opinions. Sometimes I like to think that I can accept what everyone else's opinions are and merely try to influence them a little. In person (I assure you) I am a good listener and have developed ways of getting people to come up with more libertarian thoughts on their own. It is difficult, though, not getting really passionate about things that I believe so deeply.

    Sometimes I really do think that these people who are so close to me are total scum for their beliefs, but that's surely no way to live. I see this with other frequent commenters of differing ideologies. We try to sound like we understand what the other person is saying, and that we understand why someone might believe the libertarian/democrat/republican position on something... but then sometimes we just crack (this happens all the time around here with different people, I do believe).

    So then which of the two meanings of Voltaire's statement best fit libertarianism? I see it as both. The more passive way is to win friends, advance your values, and function as a human in necessary relationships. The more angry way is to remind yourself how firmly you believe what you do.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    They believe that criminals should be (among other things) shamed in stocks in the town square. Now, EVERYONE in the town accepts and consents, by means of contracts and covenants, etc. What's more, people are completely free to leave. The Board buys you out at a fair price and you go your merry way.

    This is a more nasty version of the "intentional community model" that I mentioned above, but depending on what manner of things your "(among other things)" covers, I wouldn't see any problem with its existence as long as the voluntary nature is upheld pretty strictly. However, your potsmoking freeloader isn't covered by their contracts; they can ask him to leave, or even make him leave, but he's not subject to their punishments. (I would argue that their children wouldn't be exactly subject to those punishments either, but I'm a little more hesitant to see parental authority as the absolute that some people do.)

  • Matt Welch||

    The point of the game is to demonstrate how a pattern of racial segregation can result from the individual decisions of people whom hardly anyone would accuse of being racist. Which is one of the reasons the charge of "racism" is one that is almost impossible to defend against.

    There is a non-insignificant difference between that and calling the MLK holiday "Hate Whitey Day" in newsletters under your own name, often written in the first person.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    It's that sort of politics of hate that is tearing his country apart.

    I'm loath to stoop to your partisan level, but Batman would fuck Doom up so bad you wouldn't hear about him again until the 2099 primaries.

    And he'd be running for city council.

  • VM||

  • Matt Welch||

    Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul's platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work.

    I defended that exact plank in Paul's platform this week in a 30-minute public radio interview in which the word "newsletters" did not come up. How does that affect your "economic analysis"?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    ...and as to the end result in the anarchist version, SugarFree has it right. (The traditional libertarian version's result is slightly different, as they'd still have minimal powers for dealing with actual harmful crimes like kidnapping, murder, theft, and so on.) His friends, family, or other concerned peopel would arrange for his release in one manner or another.

  • Philip Blumel||

    Brian, you make good points in your post about tolerance and you were right to make it general rather than specific to the newsletter issue, if that's what prompted it.

    I say this because what requires genuine tolerance regarding Ron Paul is NOT any alleged insensitivity in old newsletters. After all, such insensitivity is not nor has ever been part of the Paul persona, does not show up in any policy statements of the campaign and does not animate his supporters. To even discover it took investigative work and some lucky intervention from people with personal animosity toward Ron. It does not require tolerance of any kind to deal with something so remote.

    What requires tolerance is the wackiness that in reality exists among many Ron supporters and to some extent Ron himself, including an inclination to believe nutty conspiracy theories, noisy Christianity, working man triumphalism, obsession with sovereignty and other features of cultural populism. You covered these well in your cover story on Ron.

    These populist Ron supporters are not like me. However, many others I meet are like me. Or, in other cases, are like I used to be when I was a college kid. I also have met several new genuine, permanent friends through the campaign because I tried not let my prejudices ruin a good time. I have been rewarded for it.

    Your comments in this post remind me I should not be a self-conscious prig and make me a little embarrassed at my own periodic intolerance of difference in others.

  • Sulla||

    After all, you stipulated in your example that people can leave whenever they want. If that's true, if the person they're keeping in the stocks wants to leave, they have to let him leave, and if they don't allow him to leave I can come and get him.

    Sorry I wasn't clear enough, I meant that residents of the community could choose to leave the community if they wanted. Non-residents were free to visit, but to the extent that their behavior violated the rules of the community, they were subject to punishment and could not leave until the punishment was done.

    Both Fluffy and Sugarfree argue for self-help by the friends of the person in the stocks. What happens when the Board's guards forcibly resist the rescue attempt and put the rescuers in the stocks for violating their rules?

    It seems to me that either the libertarian government cedes authority to the Board to enforce its rules within its private property, in which case it is de facto an independent nation (or at least an extremely autonomous member of a federation),
    OR, the libertarian government comes in, uses force, and tells the people of the town that they can't do what they want with their private property.

    FWIW, I don't necessarily have a problem with the first scenario. It seems somewhat similar to a Snow Crash world, and might be workable.

  • Matt Welch||

    Furthermore, there would be far fewer spoils for the lobbyists to lobby over, and fewer important articles for the journalists to write about D.C. politics, so they'd suffer personally as well as socially.

    Wait -- so if the income tax was eliminated (an awesome, epoch-shifting undertaking, that would be accompanied by high-level theatrics), there would be fewer important articles to write? That makes no sense. Also, from my (very limited) experience living in the Beltway (two weeks and counting), it strikes me that the many self-described libertarians I've met socially would be pretty stoked about eliminating the income tax.

  • ||

    Thank you, Brian. Your acceptance of my acceptance of an individual's past mistakes make me feel much more welcome here than I had over the previous week.

    Perhaps we can all be civil again?

  • NO WAI||

    KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!oneoneone!

  • Matt Welch||

    To the extent Ron Paul succeeded, they would be less able to shut down the madrassas and save Muslim women from the dastardly Muslim male. They'd have less control over oil.

    I'd like to point out that the author of these words thinks he's explaining the motivations of reason staffers.

  • intolerable||

    Mr. Doherty, you seem to be undermining the case made by other Reason that their shit don't stink.

    What's that about?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    SugarFree, Episiarch,

    You two have completely bought in to all the two-party nonsense. I shouldn't even respond because you've so obviously and thoroughly imbibed of the Kosmic Kool-Aid. Neither the Marvel nor DC parties care about the voters at all. I'm planning to vote for Marv.

  • Matt Welch||

    The MSM, including its political bureaus along the Orange Line, finds the Internet threatening.

    So threatening that we invite you to write bollocks about us on our website!

  • Sulla||

    wouldn't see any problem with its existence as long as the voluntary nature is upheld pretty strictly. However, your potsmoking freeloader isn't covered by their contracts; they can ask him to leave, or even make him leave, but he's not subject to their punishments.

    He's trespassing on their land. What if he keeps coming back to their town square to smoke up? Either they keep throwing him out, he keeps coming back, and they've lost an important part of their real property rights, or they patrol the borders of their property to keep him out, at which point you start heading in the direction of territorial sovereignty again.

  • Fluffy||

    Non-residents were free to visit, but to the extent that their behavior violated the rules of the community, they were subject to punishment and could not leave until the punishment was done.

    OK, I understand now.

    I wouldn't consider this set-up acceptable under what I would call a libertarian government.

    If someone violates your property rights, you have the right to ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, you have the right to force them to leave. If they threaten you when you try to force them to leave, you have the right to escalate your use of force as the confrontation escalates and as your safety requires.

    You don't have the right to say, "A ha! You stepped on my property with your big toe! I can seize you, kidnap you, and torture you to my heart's content until I feel you have been punished enough!"

    But I'm not an anarcho and perhaps they would disagree.

  • milky||

    So, "whitey" is a racial slur now? Is that what this is about?

    a non-insignificant difference between that and calling the MLK holiday "Hate Whitey Day"

  • ||

    Someone Who Doesn't Want to Lose His Job,

    I was not advocating for the anarchist's position, but that is what I outlined. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Is Sulla's question also solved by a rationalized hierarchy of rights? Your town's right to be dopefree is a lesser right than the smoker's right to freedom? What are the pitfalls of a rights hierarchy? Must enforcing those rights be done under the color of authority or can just the interpretation of the results of the enforcement.

    Or we could go back to screaming about cannibalism and Reason's betrayal. (Pretty please, no.)

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    OR, the libertarian government comes in, uses force, and tells the people of the town that they can't do what they want with their private property.

    I don't think it's so much that the libertarian government (if it took action in this case) would be telling "Stocktown" that they can't do what they want with their private property. It's more that they would be telling them they couldn't do what they want with people.

  • ||

    Sulla,

    I think the short answer is: No libertarian theory or structure of government is going to allow something like that to go on. We constantly defend ourselves here from accusations of being anarchists. (No singling you out.) But libertarianism allows for a government that enforces laws against the "harm" of person and property.

    Also, Fluffy ditto.

  • ||

    Marv?

    You are now officially worse than the guy at the store who keeps putting the wrong comics in my hold box.

    --end rational discourse--

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Sulla,

    Fluffy's answer:

    If someone violates your property rights, you have the right to ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, you have the right to force them to leave. If they threaten you when you try to force them to leave, you have the right to escalate your use of force as the confrontation escalates and as your safety requires.



    is pretty much the answer there. They can deal with trespassing, which he'd be guilty of, but the potsmoking can't be punished per se, except by those who've agreed to the punishment.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    SugarFree:

    Is Sulla's question also solved by a rationalized hierarchy of rights? Your town's right to be dopefree is a lesser right than the smoker's right to freedom? What are the pitfalls of a rights hierarchy? Must enforcing those rights be done under the color of authority or can just the interpretation of the results of the enforcement.



    Yes, I think it would be effectively dealt with by this means as well. As far as the pitfalls, I think the most obvious is in setting up the hierarchy in the first place, especially in cases in which the ranking of rights would be far from clear.

    (I assume the "--end rational discourse--" was only intended to apply to my unconscionable support of third party comics and not to "The Lurid Tale of Bondage in Stocktown.")

  • Fluffy||

    Matt -

    I'm no Rockwellian, but I would say that with some beltway libertarians - not Reason necessarily, but others - there is a tendency to view the most feasible route to achieving libertarian goals to be by playing courtier to the Republican party establishment.

    These cosmos want to write nice little economic position papers that Republicans can use when they feel like it, or maybe some anti-big government stuff that Rush can ape on his show if a Democrat gets back into the White House.

    And when grovelling before the Republican party establishment and begging for crumbs is the approach one has chosen, one might have a tendency to get pissed off when Paul encourages bomb throwing and the slaughter of Bushite sacred cows.

    I don't really think, for example, that the cosmos love the war. I think they don't want to talk about the war, because talking about the war pisses off Bush Republicans, whose table the cosmos are begging at. They are pissed at Paul because Paul's incitement of libertarian vs. Republican hatred [and when you read the Paul grassroots sites there's no doubt that's what it is] might make Bush Republicans not pick up the phone when some CATO type calls them for a favor.

  • Sulla||

    Sulla,

    I think the short answer is: No libertarian theory or structure of government is going to allow something like that to go on. We constantly defend ourselves here from accusations of being anarchists. (No singling you out.) But libertarianism allows for a government that enforces laws against the "harm" of person and property.

    Also, Fluffy ditto.


    My point is that if the libertarin government acts in a manner consistent with this philosophy, it will be impose libertarian values on the collectivist minority. I'm not saying this is a bad thing (or a good thing), just responding to the argument made above that "If they are actually governing by libertarian values, they won't be imposing anything on anyone (other than whatever the particular group of libertarians agree is the absolute minimal, essential function of government)." I think that level of imposition is rather significant.

    Fluffy's answer:
    If someone violates your property rights, you have the right to ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, you have the right to force them to leave. If they threaten you when you try to force them to leave, you have the right to escalate your use of force as the confrontation escalates and as your safety requires.
    is pretty much the answer there. They can deal with trespassing, which he'd be guilty of, but the potsmoking can't be punished per se, except by those who've agreed to the punishment.


    True, but John McSmokington isn't really trespassing until he starts smoking weed, and Wendy McShortskirt isn't "trespassing" until she steps onto their property in her short skirt. Strictly speaking, the issue is "trespassing," but the town uses that as cover to regulate the behavior of visitors.

  • ||

    It is sad that the guy with the best prescriptions for improving black America gets shot down because he may have some lingering racist beliefs. The Reason staffers should be better than falling in line with the intolerant, hyper-sensitive press types that ruin discourse by skinning alive anyone who comments on race.

  • ||

    Regarding the "libertarians can't be racists" line, I think what Paul was really trying to say was that libertarians by nature of their philosophy, can't be effective racists. Whether a libertarian is racist or not, from a political standpoint, is completely irrelevant. Though Paul clearly isn't a racist, if he were, it is no reason not to vote for him because his libertariansim makes his racism politically moot. That's unique among political philosophies. If a Democrat or Neocon or Donderoist is racist, that's something a voter needs to consider because their racism is going to effect policy. A Libertarian's by defnition can't. That's another reason why I think this discussion is silly. First, none of us really think Paul really is a racist which should end the story right there (and to the MSM's credit, at least they seem to understand this point and dropped the story after a day), but as libertarians, we should also be savvy enough to know that even if Paul were a racist, it's politically irrelevant.

  • Jim Henley||

    I don't really think, for example, that the cosmos love the war. I think they don't want to talk about the war, because talking about the war pisses off Bush Republicans, whose table the cosmos are begging at. They are pissed at Paul because Paul's incitement of libertarian vs. Republican hatred [and when you read the Paul grassroots sites there's no doubt that's what it is] might make Bush Republicans not pick up the phone when some CATO type calls them for a favor.



    This strikes me as true of: Virginia Postrel; Brink Lindsay (maybe); and, well, I can't think of anyone else.

    Right now the Cosmo-Most-Wanted list prominently features Julian Sanchez, Will Wilkinson and Kerry Howley. All of these three have talked about the war - they're agin' it - and none of them evince any tender concern for the GOP. I could go on. There are very few members of "the Kochtopus" proper that are pro-war or want the war to go away. Ironically, pro-war/GOP-symp "libertarianism" is found out there in Red America, among people like Glenn Reynolds and his followers.

    Brian: love you man, but the argument in this particular blog entry of yours is so tortured John Yoo would provide it habeas relief.

  • Jim Henley||

    or want the war to go away



    That is, "or want discussion of the war to go away." My bad.

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Having read both Virginia's books and both of Brink's books, I am not quite sure how it is that their work can be seen as "begging at the table of the GOP." To the extent both have favored the war, I think they are wrong in their judgment and they should be criticized for it. But the rest of the "cosmo" caricature just doesn't fit, and certainly not for Virginia, perhaps more so for Brink who at least really works in DC.

    More important, as Jim notes, there are precisely two examples of the "cosmo" ideal type Fuffy has created. Seems like a pretty weak argument to me.

  • Fluffy||

    Jim:

    I think that we're probably talking about different groups of people.

    In all likelihood this is because sometimes when the Rockwell set uses the term "beltway libertarian" they mean a lifestyle libertarian, and sometimes they mean a pro-war, pro-Republican-party libertarian.

    To me a beltway libertarian is someone who, upon hearing Jonah Goldberg claim to be a libertarian, would immediately think, "Hmmmm...how can I get him to agree to support policy 'X'?" A Paul libertarian would immediately think, "If I spit in Jonah's face, can I get out of here fast enough to avoid the cops?"

  • ||

    Someone Who Doesn't Want to Lose His Job,

    Yes, comics. You might as well advocate Frank "The Tank" Miller for president.

    -----

    Yes, the ethical stance of everyone involved in making the hierarchy would be difficult to weigh, especially if we we were trying to avoid the nightmare of majority rule. Maybe everyone gets to ranking 25 rights, and then they are decided on proportionally?

    Ah, fantasies of Libertopia...

    -----

    Sulla,

    If what the town is doing is so obvious in your example, it would be just as obvious to whatever enforcement the society has set-up to watch for this sort of stuff. Or you get a little good-ol' vigilante justice.

    I actually have no problem with imposing "values" on those who don't play by the very simple to understand "rules" that a Libertopia would operate under.

    "Sorry" for all the "quotation" "marks" but this discussion ripe for someone to swoop in a derail it with semantics.

  • dhex||

    whatever the answer might be, i don't think the republicans hold it. this much seems crystal clear after eight years of bush&co as well as assholes like mccain and - har har har - giuliani.

    perhaps the fixation should be on building a kinder, gentler superstate?

  • dhex||

    Regarding the "libertarians can't be racists" line, I think what Paul was really trying to say was that libertarians by nature of their philosophy, can't be effective racists.

    i feel him in theory, but in practice that's pretty obviously not true. i don't think your thoughts and beliefs on the relationship between coercion and the state and the roles thereof eliminate human tendencies to tribalism, pettiness and bigotry.

  • highnumber||

    Brian,
    Great piece, but I don't think those are the only two options. One could also say, "I disagree with what this man has said, and I defend to the death his right to say it, but once I have heard what he has to say and I have decided that it conflicts with my ethical or moral position, I will no longer invite him to my parties and I will have coldly civil conversations only when absolutely necessary."

  • Sulla||

    I actually have no problem with imposing "values" on those who don't play by the very simple to understand "rules" that a Libertopia would operate under.

    Is your Libertopia universalist? Would every known person live in Libertopia?

    What is Libertopia's attitude to Communopolis? Communopolis is Libertopia's small communist (not in the soviet sense, but the love each other share with each other sense) neigbor, that is non-agressive and does not force people to stay, but does require that all who live there live according to the whole give according to your means, take according to your needs thing? Is it a live and let live relationship?

    I'm curious because I have no serious problem if you want to live in Libertopia, as long as I can live in Classicaliberaland.

  • Rob D.||

    Radley never approved my comment on his latest blog post, so I'll post it here. Not sure why he's censoring all of a sudden.


    ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

    We will be marching with others on MLK holiday.
    Here's my meetup group event...
    http://ronpaul.meetup.com/107/calendar/7128884/
    These events are happening ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

    These marches will coincide with our latest money bomb effort on MLK holiday.
    http://www.freeatlast2008.com/

    Here's a wonderful youtube to promote this event...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAWClI8zsH4

    Ron Paul unites ALL, black, white, brown, & yellow. Keep quibbling about old newsletters while we change the country for the better.

  • ||

    Sulla,

    Any expansionist libertarian empire is not Libertopia. It's just another bunch of authoritarian assholes.

  • ||

    Mr. Doherty, you seem to be undermining the case made by other Reason that their shit don't stink.

    What's that about?


    Mr. Doherty has been involved with the libertarian community at large somewhat more deeply than most of his colleagues, and probably understands how this is going to play a little better than they do.

    Here's the situation:

    Cosmo-libertarians: a few dozen bloggers with a ridiculously inflated sense of their own importance.

    Ron Paul: candidate still much admired by perhaps 90% + of people who identify as libertarians.

    In a movement where grudges have been known to last a lifetime, Reason & the Cosmos are going to be remembered mostly by the libertarian community at large for their role in knee-capping their best shot ever for a serious national candidate.

    Given that Reason is likely to be Persona non Grata within the larger libertarian movement for quite a few years, Doherty, quite reasonably, probably wants to put some distance between himself and the party line, in the event he ever wants to draw a paycheck from a libertarian organization not affiliated with the Cato Institute ever again.

    I don't blame him.

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Reason & the Cosmos are going to be remembered mostly by the libertarian community at large for their role in knee-capping their best shot ever for a serious national candidate.

    Maybe, maybe not. I'd bet money on "not." But whatever that outcome, at least I/we/they won't be remembered for supporting a candidate whose libertarian credentials were questionable from the start and whose solicitation of, if not approval of, racists, nationalists, homophobes, and conspiracy types of all sorts constitutes an enormous embarrassment to libertarianism.

  • Sulla||

    Sulla,

    Any expansionist libertarian empire is not Libertopia. It's just another bunch of authoritarian assholes.


    I guess all my posts have been a roundabout way of getting back to the main thing I wonder about: the tension between libertarianism as a moral philosophy and as a political philosophy. It is by no means limited to libertarianism; many flavors of christianity also wonder how best to "hate the sin, not the sinner." I'm not saying that libertarianism is a philosophy that recognizes the idea of sin, just that there are definitely some (many, most?) libertarians, such as prolefeed above, who refer to "this alien and evil philosophy that wholesale theft and systematic abridgment of our rights are good and noble things." I recognize that philosophically consistent libertarianism would never support a war against another country _merely_ because they subscribe to an "alien and evil philosphy." But, history shows that philosophical consistency often goes out the window when moral judgments get involved.

    This is the tension I'm talking about, that no matter how noble a personal philosophy is, once it becomes a political philosophy backed by the power of a state (even a minarchist one), there is some tendency to compromise one's "values," particularly in the face of another with radically different moral values.

  • ||

    I think most here would agree with you if cornered, based on our pessimism about human nature... but "Libertopia" is just a play on "utopia" and that translates as "nowhere."

    On that basis we can only answer theoretical questions based on the intentions of our beliefs, not how they may or may not play out in a scenario that has not and may never happen.

  • T||

    This is where the party ends
    I can't stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

    Hmm. Interesting to watch H&R devolve into a They Might Be Giants song. I'm thinking a better song might have been more entertaining, though.

  • Russ 2000||

    Bottom line: tolerance isn't entertaining.

  • ||

    I'm curious if the fact that folks like the KKK were the among the first to attempt gun control, primarily so that "some" folks could not defend themselves on certain dark evenings?

    There is a difference between not liking someone because of their genotype, and actively campaigning against their right to vote, hold property and own guns.

    It can easily be argued that the folks and ideas that Mr. Paul "endorsed" under his name may actually have been the impetus for the collectivists to take action.

    Would we have gotten LBJ and his policies if the folks Ron Paul associates with hadn't forced them by rejecting equality before the law?

    Would liberals mock "states rights" (I don't personally believe in states rights, per the constitution, I believe in limited federal powers, limited state powers not beholden to fed action, and individual rights, exactly as the constitution spells out), if state rights were not also a historical call for depriving some humans from the right to call themselves human and own themselves?

    Institutional racism, which Ron Paul seems to endorse in these letters, is COMPLETELY collectivist. That's my problem with his associations.

    It doesn't matter if he decries that or not, to attempt to declare an entire section of humanity not deserving of basic property rights is exactly the historical arguments that gave birth to present climate.

    I don't blame the collectivists for rebelling against the opposition of some to the refusal to allow that these genotypes were indeed human, with a right to vote and hold property, and not be held as cattle and property.

    If you really don't like the collectivists and their attempt to force equal outcomes, then one has to ask...

    WHY SIDE WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW. Which would have been the perfect solution to head off LBJs "superstate", and the collectivist argument in favor of equal outcomes.

    Always remember, it was folks like the "racists" who most successfully opposed basic property rights and voting rights (as well as gun rights) in American history, and showed the collectivists how to do it.

  • Sulla||

    I think most here would agree with you if cornered, based on our pessimism about human nature... but "Libertopia" is just a play on "utopia" and that translates as "nowhere."

    On that basis we can only answer theoretical questions based on the intentions of our beliefs, not how they may or may not play out in a scenario that has not and may never happen.


    I had recognized the play on "utopia." I do enjoy a good philosophical discussion, but perhaps I should have focused more on less theoretical questions. The thread is slowly fading out, but I'll focus more on the issue Brian Doherty is raising. Basically, my hypotheticals were relating to a theoretical majority libertarian state and how to relate to a non-libertarian minority. It seems to me that Brian is looking at the US as a majority non-libertarian state and wondering about how libertarians should act in light of their minority status. I really like the way he put, so I don't have much to add, but it did strike me that the dilemma raised is similar to the dilemma _some_ christians face: how to act in a world that does not share your values. You can withdraw as much as possible, like the Amish do, or you can see yourself as a "missionary," accepting as much as you feel you can and taking advantage of your position to seek change from within the system.

  • ||

    Hmm. Interesting to watch H&R devolve into a They Might Be Giants song. I'm thinking a better song might have been more entertaining, though.

    It's a nice break from "Whistling In the Dark," which is our usual tune around here.

  • Angela Keaton||

    Finally, someone finds a pair and defends the right to free exchange of ideas and tolerance of the peaceful activity to speak one's mind. How refreshingly libertarian.

    One of the most disgraceful aspects of any of this is how so many of the white male overlords in the Libertarian Party, many of them 'newbees,' demanded in the name of tolerance and diversity, the view that it is acceptable for the U.S government to slaughter Arabs, Muslims and other off-white tribes as if they were goats instead of humans.

    Please, feel free to be pro-war while you condemn racism. Just remember, you might want to wipe the blood off your finger before you point it at someone else.

  • ||

    Also, of course, in libertarians' intellectual background is Mises, who wrote that "Liberalism…must be intolerant of every kind of intolerance," but that statement might be seen to have a strange loop in it.

    I think Mises was trying to be clever in his choice of words, but "intolerant" and "intolerance" are probably referring to different concepts here. In other words, a liberal (in the old meaning of the word) cannot tolerate himself holding any intolerant beliefs, that is, you cannot simultaneously be a liberal and a bigot. It does not mean a liberal must condemn all intolerance on the part of others.

  • highnumber||

    Please, feel free to be pro-war while you condemn racism.

    Is it okay if I was, am, and, I imagine, always will be anti war AND anti racism, Angela?

    I ask just because that is the case with a lot of us, and we want to make sure you find some other way to be self righteously indignant with us when we codemn racism.

  • ||

    Outstanding post, Brian.

    Your modification of the Voltaire quote, and juxtaposition of that modified version against what tolerance and open discourse *should* be about is absolute genius, and expresses my views as well.

  • ||

    Lawrence,
    I think you misstate the issue. Racists didn't teach collectivists how it is done. Collectivist racists do. Even if you accept the fact that these letters were targeted to racists, they were targeted to Libertarian Racists. A libertarian racist should be of no concern to anyone since their views are their own and they make no attempt to force their views down the throats of others. Had the mountain dwelling racists who subscribed to these letters been lived in South, Jim Crow never would have existed. The real war is against the collectivists, racist or otherwise. Bitching about some libertarian racists out in the woods in nothing but a distraction and failing to differentiate between libertarian and collectivist racists plays right in to the hands of the collectivists.

  • ||

    "Fuck politics, I'm gonna go make something."

    Smartest thing I've read. Unfortunately I don't have any skills to make something, but maybe I'll move some money around.

  • Rosetto Stone||

    To the tune of 'Folsom Prison Blues':

    I see Lew Rockwell a-comin'
    And there's Tucker, North and Hoppe
    If you ask him 'bout those quotes
    He'll surely blow his top
    Lew dresses like he's homeless
    Says old Ed Crane
    Ya know his old paleo schemes
    Are causing Ron Paul pain

    Ol' Doherty channels Voltaire
    And Keaton backs him up
    A simple plea for tolerance
    Wins him that Liberty Cup
    Ya gotta commend his vision
    Devoid of guile or pomp
    He's the best cosmotarian
    Even in this Fever Swamp

  • Rosetto Stone||

    Sorry, should be "outside the Fever Swamp."

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    Waaaaaaaaaaiiiit a minute. Is this about Ron Paul's Newsletter?

    ----------

    Matt Welch is a vile racist.

  • Jim Henley||

    Matt Welch is a vile racist.



    This never would have happened in Nick Gillespie's day.

  • Matt Welch||

    TPG -- Remind me again of which tribe I'm supposed to hate? I mean, besides the Welsh?

  • Sam Grove||

    One reason I left the LP behind is perception that hierarchical organizations tend to attract political types who want a place at or near the top of the organization. They want to run the show.

    As I am personally anti-authoritarian, I don't care to participate in the hierarchy.

    Ron Paul has a peculiar trait: although he is uncomfortable in imposing himself or his preferences on others in a personal setting, when it comes to the constitution, he is like a rock.

    I'm not a constitutionalist except in the sense that if you're to have a government that bases its authority on the constitution, then by God, it had better conform to the constitution.

    The biggest obstacle to the Ron Paul campaign, aside from those in power, is the perception of being unelectable. The same problem faced by the LP, BTW.

    This is a confounding issue. If people actually thought Ron Paul had a chance of being elected, more people would support him, thus giving him that chance.

    What is the tipping point for electability?
    Does Ron Paul have a 1% chance? Is 1% worth anything?

    What percentage is required before a candidate may be considered viable?

    I hate this evaluation. People toss it off without a thought. When I campaigned for LP candidates in the past, I should've counted all the comments I heard in that vein, as it was a fairly frequently refrain, along with "I like your candidate", BUT...

    Is this what we're stuck with?

    Is Reason mag, CATO or the LP going to change the world?

    Not a chance. They're just making a living off of people who have no hope of a libertarian political reformation.

    Meanwhile, Ron Paul just beat two front runners in th MI primary.

  • highnumber||

    This never would have happened in Nick Gillespie's day.

    Holy crap! We have to drink now, right?

  • Jim Henley||

    Hey there, Fluff . . .

    In all likelihood this is because sometimes when the Rockwell set uses the term "beltway libertarian" they mean a lifestyle libertarian, and sometimes they mean a pro-war, pro-Republican-party libertarian.



    I agree completely. It gets to a couple of the things that make Brian's plea kind of silly, actually. Because, if you read Brian's piece and parse the assumptions of many of the anti-"Cosmo" posters in this thread, you'd think no libertarian had ever condemned another avowed libertarian before Hit & Run authors began linking to Jamie Kirchick. In fact, "Paleo-libertarianism" as laid out in Rockwell's original essay began as A CONDEMNATION OF WHAT PASSED FOR "COSMOS" IN 1990. It was specifically a call to cast out "libertines" in favor of a new anti-state movement excluding them, explicitly hostile to them. You would think, from much that has been written here and elsewhere, that Lew Rockwell and Karen DeCoster and Myles Kantor and the like never uttered a cross word about anyone in the "pro-freedom" "movement" until one day out of the blue they found themselves being viciously assaulted by the likes of Kerry Howley.

    Just ain't so.

    Meanwhile, as you say, sometimes when the Rockwellians use a term it means one thing, and sometimes it means another thing. It always intends to delegitimize the object of their scorn for who they are. What I realized in the late '90s and early '00s reading LRC - and there were a few years there where I read all the columnists, even the crazy ex-Rhodesian mercenary - was that everything they write is always political. That is, they're always doing politics - attempting to advantage themselves in a power contest, whether with "beltway libertarians" or the staff of this or that magazine or competitors for leadership of the fringe right. This has everything to do with why I'm fast coming to distrust the Ron Paul personality cult as much as the Rockwell, Rothbard and Rand cults before it.

    Me, I love lifestyle libertarians. If it weren't for the wife, kids and mortgage, I could have a ton of fun being one. For "pro-war, pro-GOP libertarians" I have no use. They're two different groups. My first-hand experience is that the overlap is not substantial.

    To me a beltway libertarian is someone who, upon hearing Jonah Goldberg claim to be a libertarian, would immediately think, "Hmmmm...how can I get him to agree to support policy 'X'?" A Paul libertarian would immediately think, "If I spit in Jonah's face, can I get out of here fast enough to avoid the cops?"



    Hey, that would make me a "Paul libertarian." Dude! Except, by your standard, a "Paul libertarian" hears that people like Jared Taylor and Willis Carto have a following and say, "Hmmmm...how can I get him to agree to support policy 'X'? I know: by flattering the prejudices of their followers!!!"

    Now, I don't think that's really how you think, or how most Paulistas think. But the actual behavior of Paul's brain trust indicates that it's how THEY think, or at least thought.

  • Jim Henley||

    New Topic: His eccentricities aside, Ron Paul must first be understood as a career politician. Discuss.

  • holyrepublican||

    Dondero and Welch are both correct ... it's time for the Paulistas to get their collective head out of the sand. He is unelectable - period. It's time for libertarians to rally around and electable candidate that will advance the American interest.
    Guiliani or Huckabee are both viable in the regard, and libertarians would be wise to relent and understand that Paul is a joke - he is wrong on Iraq, and on immigration. The viable candidates will do more for your cause than would Paul if, in an alternate universe, he could get elected.

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Huckabee is to libetarians what the anti-Christ is to Christians.

    If he's the nominee, I'm voting for the Democrat, no matter how turdy or douche he or she is. (And I'm a confirmed non-voter.)

  • Jim Henley||

    I think holyrepublican was being satirical, Steve.

  • Matt Welch||

    Dondero and Welch are both correct ... it's time for the Paulistas to get their collective head out of the sand. He is unelectable - period. It's time for libertarians to rally around and electable candidate that will advance the American interest.

    Just to clarify -- I haven't actually said anything like that. And FWIW I won't be rallying around either Mike Huckabee or Giuliani any time soon.

  • Ali||

    This never would have happened in Nick Gillespie's day.

    Now that they are no longer Nick Gillespie's days. :-) Nick Gillespie rocks. So does Matt Welch so far, though I was apalled when I first learned that he contributes to Canada's "fascist" news paper the National Post. Just kidin'.

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Maybe so Jim, but the point bears repeating, if not shouting from the rooftops, every time that putz's name is invoked.

  • Ali||

    Since this is the time of reflection, Brian Doherty's article brings to mind my concerns about Hirsi Ali (also see discussion). So, let me put it this way: "I disagree with what has said has said, but I defend to the death her right to say it." So does reason, I believe. However, my criticism of reason on this issue has always been that they never really analyzed or thoroughly questioned the 60%-80% of unlibertarian suggestions that she makes regarding how to deal with the "Islamic threat" (constitutional amendments to ban Islam, closing Muslim Sunday schools and the like, bombing and military dealing with Islam, etc).

  • Ali||

    Correction: "I disagree with what Hisri Ali has said has said, but I defend to the death her right to say it."

  • Paul||

    So... what you're saying, Brian Doherty, is that you're kinda down with this libertarian thing...

  • Ali||

    oh, and please correct the correction as you see fit.

  • ||

    The horse is dead, Jim.

  • ||

    Rationally, I am now turned away from Dr. Paul's candidacy. I was enthusiastic. Not now. I still hope to see him in the debates, in the hope that most viewers haven't heard of his "other" views and won't tie them with anything rational he might say on TV.

    Also rationally, I want to see Dr. Paul quietly withdraw after this is over. But I want to see Lew Rockwell's reputation (not him, of course....) dragged through the streets, tarred, feathered, and run out of town.

    Lew Rockwell......GO.

  • Jacob||

    Question for the "hang Lew" brigade:

    Besides Lew Rockwell, who else even talks about monetary freedom nowadays? Do you think that having a government hand on the aorta of the economy might be at all detrimental to a free society?

  • VM||

    "Radley never approved my comment on his latest blog post, so I'll post it here. Not sure why he's censoring all of a sudden."

    hay, dickhead - sometimes the spam filter burps. and do you also think DOMA increases individual liberty?

    scheisskerl.

  • ||

    Is it so bad that I patronize both this site and Lew Rockwell's and happen to agree with most of what I read from all the contributors? Must I choose one side or another? Can I not simply read everything relevant presented before me, take what I like and then leave the rest? Am I a bad person because I still intend to vote for Ron Paul because I happen to agree with his views more than any other candidate despite the fact he has questionable associates who published volatile content 15 years ago?

  • Sam Grove||

    Can't we all just get along?

  • Urkobold™||

    NO.

  • Jacob||

    As soon as Lew's eyesight is back, he is going to burn a cross on your front lawn.

  • ||

    LOL!!!

    But if Lew Rockwell is not up to the job right now, then his really devoted followers should be up to the task. Come on, guys!!

    Actually, just to show their devotion to Lew, they should all burn crosses on their own front lawns, and keep them burning until he returns in his grand robes to walk among them.

    But for those who may have visited or even supported lewrockwell.com or mises.org, but who have NOT drunk the koolaid and been converted to racism and neo-confederacy, it's time to turn our backs on the Rockwell Brigade. They have done enough damage for a lifetime.

  • Jim Henley||

    Nash:

    Is it so bad that I patronize both this site and Lew Rockwell's and happen to agree with most of what I read from all the contributors? Must I choose one side or another? Can I not simply read everything relevant presented before me, take what I like and then leave the rest? Am I a bad person because I still intend to vote for Ron Paul because I happen to agree with his views more than any other candidate despite the fact he has questionable associates who published volatile content 15 years ago?



    The answer is, it depends entirely on how self-dramatizing you are about it.

  • SIV||

    I agree with Pig Mannix.....


    "...all the right enemies"

  • ||

    To me, when self-proclaimed libertarians suggest that racist views are part of libertarianism, it feels just like someone is calling me a racist. Not only is it false, it does damage to my name and reputation

    Man, what a pompous retard you are, Whorewitz.

  • Nash||

    "But for those who may have visited or even supported lewrockwell.com or mises.org, but who have NOT drunk the koolaid and been converted to racism and neo-confederacy, it's time to turn our backs on the Rockwell Brigade. They have done enough damage for a lifetime."

    I think the bigger question to ask is if Ron Paul has been a overall benefit to the overall libertarian movement or if he's hurt it.

    I don't know if rejecting the entire paleo branch and their 20 million dollar fund-raising quarter is the best strategy.

    Of course that also means calling Pat Buchanan a libertarian so I understand why some people might have a problem with it.

  • ||

    "As one example, it troubles me no end that there seems to be a generation of young libertarians who believe that it is part of libertarianism to defend the South in the Civil War. (Obligatory caveat - this does not mean I think Lincoln was a saint, ok?) Such an argument need not be racist but it certainly can be, or can be easily misconstrued that way. In any case, libertarianism per se requires no such view of the Civil War."

    This seems to me a strawman. I know no libertarian who has defended the Confederacy's statist policies, its defense of slavery, its conscription, or its domestic socialism. Yet some libertarians do in fact, somehow, defend the murderous Lincoln administration. If you can separate Lincoln's domestic evils (including support for slavery) from the clash of the two sides in that war, then why not be able to separate the slavery issue from the CSA's efforts at secession? In the war itself, I think libertarians should not favor the aggressor. This doesn't mean we have to defend the CSA's evils any more than opposing the Nazi invasion of the USSR makes one a defender of the Soviets' evils.

    I remember the first time I encountered libertarians who defended Lincoln. I was quite astonished and confused. It seems to me that there are in fact libertarians who understate the evils of slavery, among other horrific aspects of the US political system - and this includes all groups of libertarians. And yet, when it comes to sympathy for the South or sympathy for the Union, I think, if anything, there is too much of the latter in libertarian circles.

  • ||

    Reason, how about for every 10 article about Ron Paul and racism, you write one about McCain's racist performance during the debates? John McCain was blatantly racist in the SC debate, read it here:
    John McCain's racism during SC debates
    Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that "there's not a dime's worth of difference between" Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protesters, banning books like America Deceived (book) from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
    Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this great nation.

  • dead muslim||

    Don't be silly! The bigotry and genocidal tendencies of Reason's friends don't matter! They're tolerant, don't you know?!

    they never really analyzed or thoroughly questioned the 60%-80% of unlibertarian suggestions that she makes regarding how to deal with the "Islamic threat" (constitutional amendments to ban Islam, closing Muslim Sunday schools and the like, bombing and military dealing with Islam, etc).

  • Ali||

    Did someone say "Habeas Corpus"? Napolitano calls it the corpus of habeas.

  • GILMORE||

    Throw away the purple prose and Voltaire nonreference...

    And what?

    More self flagellation? Rationalization dressed as idealist theory?

    It reads like drunken teenage self love.

    Get over the whole Ron Paul thing, and get back to being a serious magazine.

    Please.

  • LibertyVini||

    The Ron Paul Bigotry Report...is less than it at first appears. I actually sat down and read all the newsletter quotes in the newsletters themselves (no, I don't own them, the article links to them). Kirchick correctly identifies quotes that many people would find offensive, which is completely what a journalist should do. But he quotes selectively and out of context to make the remarks seem as racist as possible, not the model of objectivity, I am afraid, from a publication and author who are rabidly pro-Jailiani, the candidate who stands the most to gain by dredging this stuff up right now.

    Out of all of the newsletters he links to, I could only find one or two things that were patently offensive, and more to my point, almost nothing that was not pretty standard conservative cant at the time. It's widely known, for instance, that MLK plagiarized in his PhD. dissertation and cheated on his wife (the FBI had it on tape, moreover it was a big issue at the time because of Arizona's refusal to pass an MLK day holiday.) We are only a couple of political seasons removed from widespread public conservative criticism of "the Gay Agenda".

    Limbaugh, Buchanan, Hannity, et al were saying arguably worse things back in the day, so much so that then-president Clinton tried to blame the "right-wing media" for the 1994 OKC Murrah building bombing.

    The language used, to modern eyes, is as disturbing as it is because, I submit, of how far we have come as a people with regard to race, sexual orientation, etc. It is certainly worth pondering whether someone who authorized such speech in 1992 can legitimately claim to be neutral with regard to those characteristics, as Paul emphatically does. But what has been done here is a smear, a successful attempt at destroying the candidacy of a man who while imperfect, offered arguably the most antiracist platform in the Presidential race extant (ending the War on Drugs, ending the Iraq War and the Empire, ending the tyranny of Federal Reserve inflation, Social Security, and the IRS which all disproportionately harm the poor and the aspring black middle class).

    When CATO, and Reason, and The New Republic, and the major Old Media outlets that had previously been friendly to Ron had the choice of believing in old words or current stated intended actions, they decided that the old words were more important.

    Sure Ron's excuse was lame, and I'm not excusing the newsletters, just trying to put in perspective what has been presented a little bit. And the smug, self-satisfied losers who revel in Ron's troubles as though what he did makes him evil, while their own twisted pride is not are not the type of 'enlightened' people I envision as libertarians. And, by definition, anyone who supports a thug like Giuliani cannot be, by definition, a libertarian if they follow someone who said this much more recently;

    "We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

    Nothing Ron ever said or implied in those newsletters, I submit, is as anti-libertarian, or anti-freedom, as that Giuliani statement. The very idea that anyone who could support such a megalomaniacal, authoritarian thug is enough to exorcise them from the libertarian movement, TOLERANCE BE DAMNED.

  • ||

    I see a lot of talk about the "fringe" here.

    Remember: if you find yourself talking about the "fringe", you're probably one of sheep.

  • ||

    As someone who also had raised doubts about Paul before the events of last week, I don't want any apologies like Dondero. All I ask is that those of you who are now having second thoughts about Paul look for new people and places in the libertarian movement to channel your energy and resources, and ones that you are more certain represent the sort of libertarianism that you would be proud of.


    I cannot recommend a major party candidate to support who is more libertarian than Paul, but for those of you who are voters, do think about supporting the LP candidate, assuming they don't nominate another nutjob...

    A turd vs a douche is bad enough. Let's hope the LP doesn't give us the third choice of a used condom.


    My son is available.

    Mel Gibson 2008!

  • ||

    Long comments here! Mine will be short and to the point.

    Of course people have the right to say whatever they like. But we don't have to SUPPORT what they say; we don't have to AGREE.

    There is no "lynch mob." There are, rather, some very disappointed people who strongly disagree with the content and tone of those newsletters. Thus far, the handling of the revelations of NewsletterGate rivals Larry Craig's handling of his controversy.

    Since when is retracting support or enthusiasm a lynching?

  • Disgusted||

    It's time to throw Lew Rockwell under the bus. (After he recovers from eye surgery, so he can see it coming.) Of course, as the morons who referred to this on LewRockwell.com as "The State's Thought Police" (The State's?!?!?!) will think that this is a threat of physical violence, I will specify that it is only a figure of speech.

    But Cross-Burning Lew Rockwell has to go.

  • Hi, LewRockwell.com Readers||

    Read on....There's a lot more to find. For one thing, Lew NEVER links to the newsletters he wrote. Want to find out what he wrote?

    Start here: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

    Here are the scanned copies of just a few of Lew Rockwell's most purple prose: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=74978161-f730-43a2-91c3-de262573a129

    Then follow the trail!

  • ||

    I apologize if this has already been referenced here, but I don't have time to read all of this:

    Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul by Justin Raimondo
    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/why_the_beltway_libertarians_are_trying_to_smear_ron_paul/

    A great take on this issue.
    ~~~

  • ||

    Indulge your ego and demonstrate your moral and intellectual superiority to the less enlightened. Surely a socialist Democrat or a big government Republican is preferable to the obviously flawed Dr. Paul, the nearest to a classical liberal in generations.

  • ||

    the topic starter is correct. tolerance for thee but not me. America is a big place and the norms are different. in the south, pro gun and pro life. in the north anti gun and pro choice. don't be afraid of america guys.

    on the other hand, being virtually blacklisted as a candidate does have it's advantages . if ron paul drove his tractor around the beltway nude the headline the next day would be "Mcain ponders next movem lieberman promotes unity"

  • ||

    Ron Paul is a racist! we need to distacne ourselves from tehse folks so we can kill another one million Iraqis and imprison more minorities in the war on drugs. Don't you knwo that Al Quada has nwo recrutied 1500 blond haired blue eyed terrorist? ya I saw it on Fox News. We need to kick up the war on terror or we are really going to be hurting...please elect hillary or guliani...we do not need to get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, the terrorist would overrun us in weeks if we did that. America as we knwo it would be destroyed if we brought our trrops home from Japan, Germany and Korea...and think of all the lost revenue at Halliburton...you can't really believe that would be good for america.

  • ||

    A corollary of Godwin's Law says a thread is effectively over and will impart no new relevant information after a comparison to Hitler or NAZIs has been made.

    I humbly submit NoStar's Law:

    No thread can begin in earnest until Joe Allen has finished posting.

  • ||

    ALL of the anti-Paul comments are garbage.
    I read The Spotlight for years and
    strongly agree with its holocaust
    revisionism & much else. The only thing
    Paul can be criticized on now is his
    backing off from his strong anti-Israel
    stand for opportunistic reasons. Dondero
    is a less than zero nonentity who's carrying
    out an ancient grudge against a former boss.
    Who cares what Palmer and the CATO clowns
    think about anything ?

  • Jim Henley||

    the topic starter is correct. tolerance for thee but not me. America is a big place and the norms are different. in the south, pro gun and pro life. in the north anti gun and pro choice. don't be afraid of america guys.



    This would be fucking stupid if it weren't transparently disingenuous.

  • ||

    Brian,

    After reading through the comments attached to your "thoughtful" article, I've reached an inescapable concusion: RUN MAN, RUN!!!

    Headline One:
    Reason Abandons Libertarian Candidate to Save Lbertarianism

    Headline Two:
    Senior Editor Jumps Ship to Save His Reputation!


    ...
    The shallowness of thought that is exhibited here (majority of the comments) has me wondering why on earth any of you are taken seriously!

    Perhaps the REAL ID police will be more open to your whining, you can always explain: "No! No, officer! I wasn't one of 'them,' matter of fact I did my utmost to bring that freedom train to a screeching halt!"

    Smug, arrogant, narcissistic morons.

    Thank G-d the ideas of liberty tower far enough above you to survive your ludicrous "petty-ism."

  • ||

    jim henley- just letting everyone know they can click on your homepage link to read your superb post about how pot smoking doesn't impair driving. It's not only obviously true, who doesn't remember cheech and chong being clocked at a mere 4 miles an hour ins "up in smoke", but really timely considering the challenges we face / threats to our liberty these days. Forget real ID, I'm worried billionaires might face the same rate of taxes this year as last. and getting pulled over for being stoned

  • ||

    The editors of Reason need to just admit they made a huge mistake and we can all move on. Thing to remember, Reason is a business and not a think tank like Cato. Piss off your consumers and we wont buy your product.

    As far as Cato... well that org can go to hell for all this Libertarian cares.

  • ||

    Steve Horwitz: "However, when people calling themselves libertarians are pandering to racists and either outright saying or strongly implying that such beliefs are part of what it means to be a libertarian, then it's a whole other issue. ... To me, when self-proclaimed libertarians suggest that racist views are part of libertarianism, it feels just like someone is calling me a racist. ... As one example, it troubles me no end that there seems to be a generation of young libertarians who believe that it is part of libertarianism to defend the South in the Civil War. (Obligatory caveat - this does not mean I think Lincoln was a saint, ok?) Such an argument need not be racist but it certainly can be, or can be easily misconstrued that way.

    "... The problem here is what I've called "libertarian contrarianism," by which I mean the belief that some libertarians seem to have that if you are libertarian, you must reject all "conventional wisdom." Hence, some libertarians attack those who attack racism, deny evolution or deny/minimize the Holocaust, defend the South/attack Lincoln in ways that can't be supported by historical scholarship, etc."

    Steve, let me agree with much of this. Racism is immoral, and is certainly not part of libertarianism. Of course, this does not justify falsely accusing others of racism; that is itself immoral (and libelous). And this is what many of the cosmotards continue to do.

    As for the War of Northern Aggression--the same cosmotard libertarian centralist compromisers continually refer to anyone who brings up secession and the unconstitutionality (and illegality) of the Civil War, or a critic of Lincoln, as a neo-confederate and a "defender" of the CSA South a neo-confederate and apologist for slavery. It mystifies me why any libertarian would ever have harsh words for libertarians critical of Lincoln! This is utter ignorance or madness. As for the Civil War, it is a perfectly legitimate view to believe that it was immoral, unnecessary, unconstitutional, and illegal, without favoring slavery (e.g. abolitionist Lysander Spooner's views). Or even without "defending" the South. For example I view with contempt the Rebel Flag waving neo-confederate hokum; I do not defend the South *or* the CSA (in fact they had no right to exist, or to keep slaves or to keep slavery legal; or to conscript soldiers to fight, etc.). Yet this does not mean there is anything wrong or unlibertarian with a sober analysis of the constitutional and moral flaws with Lincoln's actions too.

    In addition, there has been a gradual (unconstitutional) federal centralization of power in this country, dating back since the Civil War (if not before), and it has increasingly ignored the constitutional fetters placed on it. This results in more death and destruction, more unleashed power of the state, so waht in the hell is wrong with naming some of the origins of these troubling trends? Has PC infected part of our movement so much we cower in fear to soberly and honestly diagnose historical origins of the evils of our current marauding central state? What is wrong with the PC crowd ...? they are so distracted by all the PC concerns that they overlook, or bash, legitimate libertarian inquiry and concerns.

    So I agree that libertarians should not "defend the South" in the Civil War because slavery was evil and because states are evil, and war is evil. Of course, one not need "defend the South" to criticize Lincoln or his immoral war.

    You say that the argument against Lincoln or his war "need not be racist but it certainly can be, or can be easily misconstrued that way."

    I don't know of any libertarians who oppose Lincoln's war because it freed the slaves. Every libertarian I know, without exception, opposes slavery. So I have no idea how libertarian opposition to Lincoln or the war coudl even have a racist component. And yes, it obviously "can be easily misconstrued that way" since so many cosmotarians repeatedly do this--but I didn't know it was so easy to be so dishonest and vile.

    "Hence, some libertarians attack those who attack racism,"

    Yes, usually because "those who attack racism" do so either unfairly (by using such a broad brush the unfairly label non-racists as racist) or unjustly (by using the power of the state to outlaw racism). I would agree, however, that we ought as a general matter to be opposed to real racism; but this view, too, is not part of libertarianism, just what decent humans should do.

    "deny evolution or deny/minimize the Holocaust,"

    Well, I don't think we are obligated as libertarians to accept evolution (though I do); and I don't personally know any libertarians who deny the Holocaust. As for "minimizing" it, unless you are referring to recognizing *other* genocidal murders that are also to be condemned (China, USSR, etc.), I don't know any libertarian who minimizes it either; all libertarians I know of course oppose slavery and murder, including mass murder. So you must know a different young breed than I do.

    "defend the South/attack Lincoln in ways that can't be supported by historical scholarship, etc."

    I assume here you are talking about DiLorenzo, who has done heroic work attacking the terrible statist, racist, and UNlibertarian Abe Lincoln. Even if you don't like Tom's scholarship, this has nothing to do with racism, or libertarianism, or the ridiculous, self-embarrassing charges being made by the Palmers and Sandefurs of the world.

  • ||

    Piss off your consumers and we wont buy your product.

    I will not, not now. See?

  • ||

    Yet some libertarians do in fact, somehow, defend the murderous Lincoln administration

    Well, that is a problem, Anthony: there is no other reason for the smear and attacks on DiLorenzo, for example, except that many of those that call themselves "libertarians" are actually Lincoln worshipers.

    I also a totally uncalled for attack on Thomas Woods, in Hit and Run, probably for the very same reason: he does not harbor any love for the true god i.e. Lincoln.

  • ||

    Sorry, that was "I also read a totally uncalled for attack on Thomas Woods..."

  • ||

    Is it so bad that I patronize both this site and Lew Rockwell's and happen to agree with most of what I read from all the contributors?

    Nash, according to the shrills of the Beltway that commented here, if you agree with the contributors of LRC, you are no less than a murderous Nazi and a racist.

  • Mr. Mike||

    What exactly is a racist? What is racism? They're terms tossed around and, whatever they mean, they may be related to, but are not the same thing as racial prejudice. It may not be the same thing as bigotry either.

  • ||

    I wash my hands of you. Let the Reason editors comptemplate their actions on the Tree of Woe... crucify them!

  • ||

    The way I look at it Ron Paul is the only candidate running against the state. All the other candidates are running against America.

  • Joe Allen||

    Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul's platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work.

    Mighty Matt said:
    I defended that exact plank in Paul's platform this week in a 30-minute public radio interview in which the word "newsletters" did not come up. How does that affect your "economic analysis"?

    It doesn't really matter who or what you're
    pimping, just so long as you're in the spotlight.

    Again, I fart in you general direction.

  • Jim Henley||

    jim henley- just letting everyone know they can click on your homepage link to read your superb post about how pot smoking doesn't impair driving. It's not only obviously true, who doesn't remember cheech and chong being clocked at a mere 4 miles an hour ins "up in smoke", but really timely considering the challenges we face / threats to our liberty these days. Forget real ID, I'm worried billionaires might face the same rate of taxes this year as last. and getting pulled over for being stoned.



    Giving a shit in 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Hey. It didn't work!

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