Hark! The Herold

|

New at Reason: Matt Welch gets jiggy with France's libertarian It Girl, Sabine Herold.

NEXT: Pvt. Propaganda, First Class

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There seem to be a lot of people on here who believe that a deviance from certain political issues strips you of the libertarian label. Truth be known, I prefer the label liberal, but since that’s been co-opted by the left, I guess this is what we’re left with.

    Who decided that being anti-war is a prerequisite to being a libertarian? Was there a big meeting of the libertarian intelligentsia that the rest of us missed out on?

    I think if you have a belief in smaller unobtrusive government, I think that’s enough to qualify you for the ‘l’ label. You can’t expect everyone to buy into all the dogma.

  2. Small, unobtrusive governments don’t wage perpetual wars of regime change all around the globe. Anyway, the point was that Welch finds Herold’s PRO-WAR stance an essential ingredient in her libertarianism.

  3. “Small, unobtrusive governments don’t wage perpetual wars of regime change all around the globe.”

    And overthrowing Hussein and the Taliban have hurt the cause of liberty how?

  4. Jesus Christ, Sebastian, if you’re just now asking this question, if it’s never even occurred to you before, then you’re fucking hopeless. But here’s a clue: it further empowers the American state, the most powerful government on the planet, the #1 abuser of the rights of Americans, the eternal nest of such libertarian heroes as FDR, LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, Reno, Ashcroft, ad nauseum.

  5. MB — “Welch finds Herold’s PRO-WAR stance an essential ingredient in her libertarianism.”

    This statement is false. I listed her pro-war stance in a list of things that made her not the typical French youngun’, not a list of things that qualified her for a capital L. *You*, perhaps, find her pro-war stance an essential ingredient in her *non*-libertarianism, but as I mentioned above, the debate over libertarianism’s essential ingredients is one from which I happily recuse myself.

  6. The subtitle of the article is “France?s new libertarian youth leader.” Have some spine, Welch, and stick with what you wrote.

  7. Matt, I just want to thank you for keeping us up on goings-on in the Hexagon. Please keep it up. We should all be happy when libertarian ideas take root there.

    David

  8. Would any of you lechertarians like to personally invite Miss Herold to comment on this blog? As it is right now, H&R is a bit of a sausagefest.

  9. Let’s not refight the battle over the Iraq war yet again. The defining aspect of libertarianism is a principled belief that government should be small and act only to protect life, liberty, and property. When we go beyond questions of principle and ask how to apply those principles, the argument becomes complicated, and libertarians of good will can disagree.

    We all agree that invading Iraq was justified if Iraq posed a threat to US security that can only be handled by invasion. We can disagree (yes, really, we can!) over whether the particular facts of the case mean that Iraq was a threat that merited invasion. But as long as both sides agree that the threat to US security is the issue at stake, we agree on principle. One side might be objectively right on the question of facts, but even the people who are wrong on fact can still share the same principle and hence be libertarians in good standing.

    Now, some will go further and argue that protection of “life, liberty, and property” should (at least in some cases) extend beyond our borders, so that liberating oppressed people in other countries is a valid use of gov’t power. We can argue all day long over whether such people deserve the title “libertarian.” One side will argue vehemently that their concern is liberty, and that’s a thoroughly libertarian concept. And the other side will argue vehemently that their concern is limiting the power of the US gov’t, and that’s a thoroughly libertarian concept.

    But as long as our concern is liberty and limited government we still have a lot in common.

    I’m quite confident that both sides of the never-ending debate over Iraq will lambast me for being far too generous to their opponents. Go ahead, confiscate my copy of _Atlas Shrugged_. As you lead me away from Libertopia in handcuffs, I’ll just shout “Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

  10. I suspect that Iraqi libertarians are pro-war, in the sense that they supported the American war to topple Saddam.

    Maybe this applies to the French, as well.

  11. I suspect that Iraqi libertarians are pro-war, in the sense that they supported the American war to topple Saddam.

    Maybe this applies to the French, as well.

  12. OK, Her support for the Iraq war is a contradiction as are her pronoucments on the E.U. but Harold certainly has strong libertarian leanings. She understands the relationship between force and debacle: “…They were mere means for some to increase their own power and hence caused disasters.” and she is a Hayek fan!
    Her revolt against the government employee unions
    is definitely of a libertarian pedigree. Also, some who support the US and our freedoms sometime commit the error of also supporting some of our government’s actions, even when they are not worthy of support. Give her a break. Sabine Herold is a very encouraging development on the French scene.

    Sebastian wrote:
    “Who decided that being anti-war is a prerequisite to being a libertarian?”

    War is among the most horrific things governments do, it is the name for the mass murder governments commit. Consistant with libertarian principle, the only war the US government may prosecute is one that is NECESSARY to defend US citizens from lethal aggression.

    “And overthrowing Hussein and the Taliban have hurt the cause of liberty how?”

    The war against Hussein was clearly a violation of the liberty of Americans who did not want to be coerced into supporting it. A case can be made for the war on the Taliban as being consistant with libertarian principle. (although, not the subsequent and continued occupation)

  13. “I mean, really. Libertarian? French? In the same sentence?”

    Don’t forget Frederic Bastiat!

  14. rick says anyone who supported war is anti-libertarian. END THE DEBATES NOW~ the high priests have spoken!

  15. Mon dieu, let’s just hope she doesn’t look like Arianna in 30 years.

  16. …or think like Arianna.

  17. My God, am I sick of the “can you be a pro-war libertarian?” debate. (But here I am, entering it. Sigh.)

    Well, I am pro-war. And I am a libertarian. So there — pro-war libertarians do exist.

    The thing is, I’m not going to run around calling anti-war idiots “unlibertarian” or whatever. I will call them idiots — see, I just did — because I think they’re wrong, but they’re allowed to be wrong about the war and still be libertarians.

    News flash: being consistent with Libertarian Party or standard-libertarian thought is not a synonym for being correct.

    I think Thoreau hit the nail on the head (the H&R poster, not the real Thoreau — he was full of shit about just about everything). The war is a conundrum for libertarians because it shows that sometimes the power of the U.S. gov’t is the best way to ensure liberty to the most people.

    Or I could uncharitable, and phrase the conflict this way: do you think liberty and free markets and limited government are good for everyone, or just for Americans? I mean, classical liberalism is a radical, revolutionary philosophy. It’s betrayed, I think, by American libertarians who only care about freedom for people lucky enough to be born here.

    And on a final note — that French chick is really, really hot.

  18. “I mean, classical liberalism is a radical, revolutionary philosophy. It’s betrayed, I think, by American libertarians who only care about freedom for people lucky enough to be born here.”

    It is a betrayal of American liberty when Americans are FORCED by the government to support another peoples “liberation”, even when it really is liberation. This is no more consistent with libertarian/classical liberal principle than the government forcing Americans to provide for the welfare of other Americans. In both cases however, private initiative is fine of course.

  19. Private initiative? OK, Rick, let’s you and me get our guns and head over to Iraq to fight Saddam’s army. Are you serious?

    If maintaining a military force isn’t a legitmate function of government, what is?

  20. “The war is a conundrum for libertarians because it shows that sometimes the power of the U.S. gov’t is the best way to ensure liberty to the most people.”

    Steve, for a libertarian you sure sound an awful lot like a neocon. You’ll have to explain to me how giving our government the power to decide what foreign country we should bomb (or who we should “free” as you called it), is in any way libertarian. Ignoring the obvious violation of the non-agression axiom I thought libertarians were supposed to believe in, do you really think free markets and limited government can be spread by force?

  21. Steve said:

    I think Thoreau hit the nail on the head (the H&R poster, not the real Thoreau — he was full of shit about just about everything). The war is a conundrum for libertarians because it shows that sometimes the power of the U.S. gov’t is the best way to ensure liberty to the most people.

    That’s not exactly what I said. What I meant is that even when people agree or disagree about principles, the application of those principles in the real world will depend on facts. Since nobody is omniscient, factual data will often be incomplete and subject to disputes over interpretation. Even if two libertarians agree that a threat to national security is the only legitimate justification for the use of force, they might disagree over whether Iraq posed such a threat to national security. Maybe one side is objectively right on that issue, but if both people in the argument come at it from the same principle (only use force for self-defense) then bickering over who the “real” libertarians are in that argument is meaningless.

    Steve mostly addresses the other issue, the one I tried to gloss over: Is it legitimate to fight a war with gov’t resources for the sole purpose of freeing other people who aren’t part of this country?

    I simply observed that one side of the argument is emphasizing liberty while the other side is emphasizing the need to limit the US gov’t. Both sides are arguing from sound libertarian principles, so even if you disagree with one of those two sides, it’s ridiculous to insist that people on the other side aren’t “real” libertarians. Don’t get me wrong, even if one side is 100% objectively wrong, since they are concerned with a very sound principle (limits on the US gov’t or individual liberty) it’s idiotic to exile them from Libertopia.

    Reasonable people can disagree over some issues while generally sharing concerns about life, liberty, and property, and securing those things via limited government.

  22. Oh, I also have to quarrel with Steve over the French chick. My wife is far more attractive! 😉

  23. “do you really think free markets and limited government can be spread by force?”

    No, the people in the country which are ‘liberated’ have to do this for themselves. But force is the only way to get rid of a guy like Saddam Hussein.

  24. Thanks, Thoreau. That’s what I was saying — that we can disagree over the war without resorting to “oh yeah? well, you’re not a libertarian! You sound more like a big neocon doody-head!”

    That’s right, I’m a neocon on some issues, a conservative on others, a liberal on still others. Blah blah blah who fucking cares? “Libertarian” is still the best description, I think, even though my frustration with the LP has grown so much since Sept. 11 than I’m now officially “decline to state.” (and since I’m in California, it’s also so I can vote in a Dem or GOP primary if I feel like it. You can’t do that as a Lib here)

    Both support for and opposition to the war can come from libertarian principles. I’ve found the pro-war libertarian argument far more persuasive, but that’s me. You can still be a libertarian and be anti-war. Like I said, it just makes you wrong, not “counterrevolutionary” or something.

    And that French chick is still really hot.

  25. Steve:
    “If maintaining a military force isn’t a legitmate function of government, what is?”

    The governments use of a military is “legitimate” (consistent with libertarian/classical liberal principle) when the purpose is to defend Americans, but not to liberate other peoples. Now, the two can happen simultaneously, as with the defeat of the Soviet Empire. In which, btw there was a good deal of private initiative,such as American Catholics conspiring with the Pope (Reagan got in on it too. see:Reagan’s War by Peter Shweizer) to destabilize Poland’s brutal regime and other Eastern European Commie regimes as well.

    Steve, you may have a hard time seeing how private initiative can liberate foreign peoples but I imagine if government had a near monopoly on the production of high tech medicine it would seem risky to some to leave IT’S production to private initiative as well.

    thoreau,
    I think it is good to it point out, and explain why, when some one who calls themself a libertarian holds advocacies that are clearly (or even, maybe) not. However, I agree that: “it’s idiotic to exile them from Libertopia”. Please note my comments on Sabine Herold.

  26. I’d like to face fuck her and jizz in her stomach.

  27. Well steve what can I say…I call ’em like I see ’em. I never said you were “wrong” to believe the pro-war camp, but your argument for war just doesn’t seem to be based on any libertarian (in the rothbardian tradition at least) principles that I know of.

  28. A young Libertarian French woman. Wow. Now I’ve seen everything.

    I mean, really. Libertarian? French? In the same sentence?

  29. A young Libertarian French woman. Wow. Now I’ve seen everything.

    I mean, really. Libertarian? French? In the same sentence?

    And good looking too:

    http://catallarchy.net/blog/cgi-bin/archives/000178.html

    http://catallarchy.net/blog/cgi-bin/archives/000181.html

  30. “neoconlibertarian” What? Thats it Steve. We tried to help you but you obviously aren’t trying. Your out of the movement! Just kidding of course. But, hey it just occurred to me
    that, although, “neoconlibertarian” is quite a contradiction it might well more honestly communicate where you’re at right now, so thats good.

  31. And most importantly, pro-war. That’s what really makes her a libertarian, right Matt?

  32. Viva la tank-top!!

  33. “celebrating Bastille Day, spending some of their mandatory eight-week vacation time, going on strike”

    Wow! Did I hear mystification ?

    FIVE weeks you *****. And I ENJOY them for god’s sake.

    Jeez, there IS a right-wing pro-US, anti-tax and pro-War movement in France,. But the lies you say, the way you say it, my, if I didn’t know you were a libertarian I’d think you were a racist.

    libertement votre,
    mouchon

  34. Mouchon, I am mystified as to how criticism of the French, however well or ill founded, qualifies as racism. Are the French a race? Is there a French gene?

    Am I supposed to be able to pick the French out of a crowd at a glance?

  35. does she have a sister?

  36. Mouchon — Vacation time depends on profession. Journalists, for example, get 8 weeks (some get 11). I have no idea what the national average is, but I’d guess it’s closer to 8 than 5. I’m glad you enjoy your vacation; I never take anything less than four weeks a year myself, paid or no. And if I’m an anti-French racist (who knows!), I’m that special kind who married a French woman.

    MB — I don’t think pro-war = libertarian. In fact, I’m probably the least qualified (and least interested) person here to assert which melange of political beliefs qualifies one for the “l” word. Herold defines *herself* as a libertarian, and that’s really what I was writing about.

  37. I think I’m in love

  38. Welch: “I don’t think pro-war = libertarian. In fact, I’m probably the least qualified (and least interested) person here to assert which melange of political beliefs qualifies one for the ‘l’ word. Herold defines *herself* as a libertarian, and that’s really what I was writing about.”

    Jesus, what a cop-out! OK, then I define myself as a fabulous Cuban baseball player. Write a story about me.

  39. sorry–MB on that last one

  40. By the way, your pal Glenn Reynolds also picked up on the centrality of “pro-war” to your analysis of Herold.

    http://www.instapundit.com/archives/011975.php

  41. She’s a Joan of Arc who really gets my stake burning.

  42. “And on a final note — that French chick is really, really hot”

    How would you know?

  43. “The war against Hussein was clearly a violation of the liberty of Americans who did not want to be coerced into supporting it.”

    A lot of Americans felt the same way about the War of Northern Aggression.

  44. “The governments use of a military is “legitimate” (consistent with libertarian/classical liberal principle) when the purpose is to defend Americans, but not to liberate other peoples. Now, the two can happen simultaneously, . . .”

    Are you sure those two things didn’t happen simultaneously in Iraq?

  45. “I believe this is just another example of some sub-group of Americans wishing that Frenchmen would just adopt their worldview. Its not going to happen, and for good reason – we like our countr the way it is.”

    I don’t believe any group of Americans want France to adopt the American worldview. I’d rather France remain backwards, and in any case, it is so much fun making fun of the French that it would be a shame if they changed . . .

  46. Anon @ 1:12 a.m.
    You do have eyes, right? They work, right? Then look at the freaking picture, doofus! She’s a babe. But she’s no Salma Hayek.

  47. “Are you sure those two things didn’t happen simultaneously in Iraq?”

    Yes, because the first condition didn’t obtain.
    The second is moving that way, but still undecided.

  48. I wonder if we really shouldn’t call her a libretarian.

  49. Then again, I don’t speak French.

  50. Jean Bart:
    “There has always been a libertarian “youth movement” in France;”

    Who were some previous luminaries?

    “As to Sabine Herold, she’s a twit.”

    In the snippets of hers, Iv’e read, she seems better then that. You disagree with her outlook, right? Our interest in Sabine is NOT due to our wishing that Frenchmen would adopt our worldview. Its due to the fact that she has libertarian leanings and a sizable following in France.

    “we like our country the way it is.”

    I like your country too, not the government, but rather the many notable contributions that French people have made throughout history. Any way Sabine and her movement ARE part of your country.

    “”Viva la France” – its “Vive la France” you dipshit. We aren’t Spaniards you know.”

    Now Jean Bart, I’m afraid you are encouraging anti-French feeling here. Come on, Give-em a break! French and Spanish are both Romance languages and all those vowles at the end of the words are easy to mix up. The words are much easier to mix up then English and German words though both are Germanic languages.

  51. Rick Barton wrote: “Yes, because the first condition didn’t obtain.
    The second is moving that way, but still undecided.”

    Really?

    Even absent WMDs and direct Al Quada ties, I think a pragmatic argument could be made that liberating Iraq was an effective defensive move of the US.

    Likely Iraqi WMDs would not have been much of a threat to the US currently anyway. Looking ahead, however, replacing Saddam with a pro-US democracy has considerable potential for improving US security.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.