Libertarianism

Ron Paul's March 1990 Reaction to the "Paleo-Libertarian" Strategy

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Linger on…your paleo blue eyes

As readers of Reason (and The New York Times!) know, Llewelyn Rockwell, Jr., made a "Case for Paleo-Libertarianism" in the January 1990 issue [PDF] of the libertarian journal Liberty, arguing that libertarians must "cleanse" the "libertine muck" off their movement and make alliance with "resurgent paleoconservatives" over issues such as crime, civil rights, family values, and "the Judeo-Christian tradition." What is less well known is that Liberty invited responses to the essay in its March 1990 issue [PDF], and among the respondents was Ron Paul, then in between congressional stints and coming off a 1988 Libertarian Party presidential run.

Since the next couple of years would feature "Ron Paul"-branded newsletters produced by a company Rockwell worked for, some containing grotesque culture-war bombthrowing on the subjects listed above in language that sounds nothing like Ron Paul, I thought it would be of historical interest to republish Paul's real-time public response to the paleo-libertarianism initiative. First, some of the more contentious passages in Rockwell's original essay:

In its 17-year history, the LP may never have gotten 1% in a national election, but it has smeared the most glorious political idea in human history with libertine muck. For the sake of that glorious idea, it's time to get out the scrub brushes.

New punk band name: The Anti-Norms. First LP title: Abhorrence.

Most Americans agree that aggression against the innocent and their property is wrong. Although these millions are potential libertarians, they are put off by the Woodstockian flavor of the movement. Hair may have left Broadway long ago, but the Age of Aquarius survives in the LP. The cultural anti-norms that mark the libertarian image are abhorrent; they have nothing to do with libertarianism per se; and they are deadly baggage. Unless we dump that baggage, we will miss the greatest opportunity in decades. […]

[U]nless we cleanse libertarianism of its cultural image, our movement will fail as miserably as the LP has. We will continue to be seen as a sect that "resists authority" and not just statism, that endorses the behaviors it would legalize, and that rejects the standards of Western civilization. Arguments against the drug war, no matter how intellectually compelling, are undermined when they come from the party of the stoned. […]

It is…understandable and desirable that libertarianism have a cultural tone, but not that it be anti-religious, modernist, morally relativist, and egalitarian. This tone rightly repels the vast majority of Americans and has helped keep libertarianism such a small movement. […]

Libertarians have to catch up with the American people, who are fed up with modernism in arts, literature, and manners that is really an attack on the West. […]

But it's still OK to like the band, right? At least the Ziggy Stardust cover?

Pornographic photography, "free" thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda-no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them. In addition to their aesthetic and moral disabilities, these "art forms" are political liabilities outside Berkeley and Greenwich Village. […]

Congressman Ron Paul, the 1988 LP presidential candidate, was attacked by libertarians for opposing the tax-financed Martin Luther King holiday. King was a socialist who attacked private property and advocated forced integration. How could he be a libertarian hero? Yet he is-for egalitarian reasons. […]

The present State monopoly over the production of domestic security is a failure. The streets of our big cities have become the realm of barbarians (if that is not a libel against the Visigoths). […]

Libertarians can and must talk again with the resurgent paleoconservatives, now in the process of breaking away from the neocons. We can even form an alliance with them. […]

Together, we have a chance to attain victory. But first we must junk the libertarian image as repugnant, self-defeating, and unworthy of liberty.

OK, now repeat after me: YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE MY TASTE IN MUSIC. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Paul's response? Well, it was similar to the way he talks about Rockwell today. Under the all-caps headline "NO COMMMENT," he wrote only this:

I hesitate to comment on Rockwell's article because I see the debate as being more divisive than productive. I prefer to use my energy attacking those who support statism, whether they do so intentionally or out of ignorance.

Having said this, I will make one comment: it's obvious to me that the Libertarian Party would be a lot bigger than it is now if its image were perceived as more libertarian and less libertine.

Keep in mind that at the same time these two very different conceptions of rhetorical strategizing were being aired, there were first-person "Ron Paul" newsletters being mailed out with content like this.

You can draw any number of conclusions from this stuff, but the one that strikes me most is how little Rockwell's original complaints have to do with the modern-day content and spirit of Ron Paul's campaign and appeal (which is one reason that many cultural libertines find Paul copacetic). Looks like libertarianism was strong enough to survive the onslaught of Bahaus architecture enthusiasts after all.

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200 responses to “Ron Paul's March 1990 Reaction to the "Paleo-Libertarian" Strategy

    1. They used to have drunk monkeys throw paint at a canvas and then the avant garde crowd (not aware that it was actually drunk monkey art) would converse about the various social meanings of the design. This lead to disco music.

      1. Are you thinking of Pierre Brassau’s work?

        Here’s what one critic had to say about Brassau: “Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”

        Another, with a level of insight almost impossible to believe in an art critic, said, “Only an ape could have done this.”

      2. The More You Know.

      3. No, disco is highly structured. You’re thinking of funk.

  1. Lew Rockwell is (was?) a moron.

    Who knew?

      1. You know, Cato is a good thing for libertarianism and has done more than most to keep at least some hint of a wisp of a possibility of limited government alive in DC.

        1. Exactly. I support them all, CATO, Mises institute, the LP, etc etc.

          They all suck at times, but they are all net positives, IMO.

        2. Since El Tiempo Del Nuevo York wanted to define two sides of a schism in libertarianism, I’ll define my own.

          In one corner: Cato/Reason/GMU/’Cosmotarians’/Pragmatists

          In the other corner: Mises/Rockwell/Rothbardians/Philosophical Libertarians

          I think Paul has some clear leanings toward the latter side. I agree with ProLib though, I tend to think the former side has done more tangible good for the cause of limited government thus far. But Rockwell would probably call me a libertine because I have no respect for authority, especially social conservative nannies whether they act through the state or some other institution.

          1. I have my own views, and I don’t really care whether someone thinks I’m not libertarian, statist, whatever enough.

            1. Statist^^^^^^^

          2. I dont know who has done the most good, but the moral libertarians are “right”.

            The beltway libertarians (I have kept my promise to never use the C word again) secretly know this and it pisses them off.

            1. Oh, and I hate applying the term pragmatic to that side. There is nothing more pragmatic than to be morally right, IMO.

              1. I don’t think we can win if the system goes completely authoritarian. Cato and other incrementalists are trying to at least slow down Leviathan. If we sit here and scream in total obscurity, we’ll be right, but we’ll also lose our cause.

                In other words, there’s room for both views.

                1. As someone down below said, its enough that people are right for the wrong reasons. Hence my support for Cato. But I dont mind supporting them and telling them they are right for the wrong reasons at the same time.

                  Also, to paraphrase (because I cant remember the exact quote) C. S. Lewis, better for mankind to die out than to transform into some form of evil.

          3. My third way is to be pragmatic as long as it doesn’t damage (ie discredit) the philosophy.

  2. I’ve never seen the tough on crime stuff at LRC. In fact, you often see Will Norman Grigg writing about some police abuse and advising that you shouldn’t call the police when you’re in trouble. Anthony Gregory had a piece at LRC calling for abolishing the police.

    1. Lew Rockwell has advanced by leaps and bounds since the ’80s and ’90s. He even wrote a piece during the Bush years titled “The Reality of Red State Fascism”, which is an odd thing for a paleo to say.

      Aside from the goofy man stuff and homeopathy crap they sometimes link to, there’s not much to object to on LRC.

  3. Um, how is this supposed to make Ron Paul look good?

    I have my own take here:

    “Ron Paul: I’m not a bigot, I just pretended to be one to manipulate the masses and cash in on their stupidity”

    http://avanneman.blogspot.com/…..ed_29.html

    1. “I’m not a blog whore… actually, well…, I am.”- A Vanneman.

    2. Please. If that were true, we’d see it in more than a few newsletters. Besides, think about that for a minute. Paul has sought national office three times now (viewing the House seat for this purpose as a local office). If he had national ambitions, why would he risk being derailed by publishing racist sentiments? He didn’t need them to get reelected as a representative, and they’d positively hurt him in a national race. It makes no sense.

      1. “If he had national ambitions, why would he risk being derailed by publishing racist sentiments?”

        I agree with your logic and sympathize for Paul, but his name still ran over the newsletters that actually exist. Paul is light years ahead of the others, and I doubt he wrote the material, but it was bad judgement to just lend his name out and (I guess) not check what words “friends” put in his mouth.

        1. I agree, and Paul has said that much himself–he screwed up in allowing the situation to exist in the first place.

          1. I’ll take the simple act of admitting a mistake in a non-passive sentence (“mistakes were made”) as a good trait in a public office holder. I would be more personally satisfied if he threw whoever wrote the bile under the bus. If someone put those words in MY mouth they were _never_ my “friend” to begin with.

            1. I don’t think he has much to gain by throwing anyone under the bus, however much they deserve it. However, I can’t imagine being very friendly with someone who did something like that in my name.

              1. I still think Dondero is the one who wrote the newsletter segments in question. Compare his writings to the newsletters and there are remarkable similarities in style, voice and tone. If he did ghostwriting for them, there may have been a non-disclosure contract involved. I am a ghostwriter and when I sign over the copyrights, I and the payer are bound to not disclose either party. I cannot make claims that I wrote the material for said person and they cannot disclose that I wrote it. I can’t say this is what happened in this situation, but as a ghostwriter, it draws some possibilities, for me. Anyway, long story short, in comparing the newsletters to Ron Paul, Rockwell, Dondero and others involved – the writing style is most similar to Dondero’s. His firing also lines up with when Ron Paul said he was made aware of the content.

  4. Now I’ve got visions of a nappy haired dude singing in the shower!

    Damn you Matt!

    Damn you to hell!

  5. “It is…understandable and desirable that libertarianism have a cultural tone, but not that it be anti-religious, modernist, morally relativist, and egalitarian. This tone rightly repels the vast majority of Americans and has helped keep libertarianism such a small movement. […]”

    Well race baiting was a dumbfuck answer to that problem!

  6. So can someone explain what WI’s ideal society would look like? All the hunter-gatherer nonsense makes me think he’s some sort of anti-civ Luddite.

    1. From what I’ve gathered (from the commons of course) is everybody owns everything and nothing, stagnating from the tragedy of the commons.

    2. Look up anarcho-primitivism on Wikipedia.

      And don’t mention that name again.

    3. WI was raped by a gang of supermarket vegetables, or something.

  7. Ironic perhaps that, as I recall, the LP and its National Committee in those days was the most buttoned down, suit & tie and “salaryman” oriented that it had ever been.

  8. I am amazed at how stupid Rothbard was. Just how exactly did he plan to sell America on how libertarians were going to keep the animals in the inner city zoo in line while at the same time worrying about people’s civil rights?

    1. I am amazed at how stupid Rothbard was. Just how exactly did he plan to sell America on how libertarians were going to keep the animals in the inner city zoo in line while at the same time worrying about people’s civil rights?

      He’d be protecting people’s property rights by stopping the “animals in the inner city zoo” from attacking civilians or pillaging.

  9. Basically, it looks like Paul learned something from Reagan that some other supposed followers of him havent:

    the 11th commandment.

    Paul wont say bad things about anti-statists.

    I prefer to use my energy attacking those who support statism

    Damn skippy!

    1. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stop at that, and let it be known that, given a binary choice, he sympathized with Rockwell’s anti-libertine alternative, if only for its putative movement-building tendency. I’d like to take the best view of Paul here, but Rockwell’s authoritarian boilerplate — with its anachronistic culture-cleansing whinge against modernism — needed some gutsy rejoinder, and Paul was too featherweight to deliver it.

      A government, even a very lean one, isn’t a lone gun. A lot of Paul’s fellow travelers freak me out, and the authoritarians among them could too easily overpower the effete libertines given the opportunity. With Paul’s age, if he were in a position of real power, the possibility seems too real that some Rockwell clones he’s given succor to eventually strong-arm him into paleoconservative mischief.

      1. “With Paul’s age, if he were in a position of real power, the possibility seems too real that some Rockwell clones he’s given succor to eventually strong-arm him into paleoconservative mischief.”

        Setting aside the point that most people in either camp tend to resist the existence of “positions of real power”, I’m curious how many times in Paul’s 20+ years of public life we’ve seen him strong-armed.

        He votes alone (not effective, but not caving). He decries the Cuban embargo at the 2007 Univision debate in Florida and gets booed nearly off the stage, but persists. He states that Iran developing a nuke in-and-of-itself will not end the world and gets booed during the 2011 debates, but persists.

        When was the last time he caved on a position?

  10. “Together, we have a chance to attain victory. But first we must junk the libertarian image as repugnant, self-defeating, and unworthy of liberty.”

    Once again, race baiting is a dumbfuck answer to his quagmire.

  11. RON PAUL has returned to his home planet of Libertooine in an attempt to rescue his reputation from the clutches of the vile Lew Rockwell. Little does Ron know that the LIBERAL MEDIA has begun construction on a new Obama Administraion even more powerful than the first dreaded Hope Star. When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy…

    1. Someone’s been hitting the SWTOR pretty hard…

      1. Hey, good or not good? I’m not an MMO guy, so I haven’t rushed out to get it. Besides, Skyrim.

        1. It’s good, but MMOs are toxic to real life. Odd that expansive single player campaigns, where you play more or less alone, are more conducive to social life.

        2. Crazy good. It may not be a WOW killer, but I haven’t played Skyrim since I got it. 😛

    2. ^This was a good laugh

    3. Iowa, Shmiowa, he’s got the Ewok vote sewn up.

    4. Most awesome.

  12. The crazy thing with Rockwell was that it was Michael and Jermaine Jackson singing back-up vocals on “Somebody’s Watching Me”.

    1. Didn’t seem to help it much.

    2. There isn’t a single aspect of that sentence that does not diminish us as a species.

    3. It’s an interesting inversion…

      The most compelling, popular part of that one-off hit song was the backup voice in the chorus. It wasn’t Rockwell’s voice…

  13. It sounds like RP is biting his tongue when it comes to Rockwell. I certainly don’t think RP is racist; i think he just doesn’t want to challenge Rockwell in public, or rat him out for the racist material in the newsletters. It’s unfortunate. I believe the RP response shows that he is concerned with the “big picture” issues and doesn’t want to fight cultural battles. Instead the LP should be seen as a “grown up” movement and not portrayed as single issue pot legalization advocates.

    Interesting piece, thanks for the share Matt

    1. “I certainly don’t think RP is racist; i think he just doesn’t want to challenge Rockwell in public”

      That’s my impression too. I wonder if Rockwell has some leverage over Paul? Or if it’s just the ecumenical attitude.

      1. It may have been that RP just didn’t want to been seen as the one fracturing what was an even smaller movement then it is today. Seems as if he’s saying “this is non-sense, we need to fight the big battles together until we gain some sort of recognition”

    2. I’ve also yet to be convinced it makes any sense to blame them on Rockwell (if it was him). That’ll just allow his opponents and the press to tie him to everything Rockwell ever wrote (fairly or not). They’ll have enough material to keep pumping out ‘exposes’ for weeks.

  14. I think Rockwell is/was correct overall, a better public image would help libertarianism. To what degree I’m still pessimistic about.

    And, as others have said, that doesn’t seem to translate to race-baiting, so I’m not convinced Lew wrote the infamous newsletter.

    This is also similar to Keith Preston (not the same KP) and the anarchist movement.

    1. Agree. Even now, we still get beat up with this kind of dreck:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50…..ize-drugs/

      1. Getting money to advise Freddie Mac isn’t the problem. It’s his advice people should be afraid of. They’ve done nothing right and presumably they paid him for advice they heeded.

        And so what if Ron Paul’s base wants drugs to be legal. It’s a valid and moral position for people to be free from government nannies.

  15. This is much ado about nothing. So what? Lew Rockwell’s religiosity, and personal views lead him to have a different approach to advancing libertarianism than others. I don’t like the religiosity or the divisive tone, but I can appreciate the work he and other have done to advance liberty.

    1. Uh, no, no it’s not. This is a huge fucking deal. Lew Rockwell was so desperate to advance Libertarianism(tm) by any means necessary that he betrayed libertarianism. Redneck outreach, culture war, etc.

      I believe that Rockwell did as much to retard our progress as to advance it.

      1. Can you actually show where Rockwell specifically said to violate libertarian principles? (i.e. invade/violate private property)

        1. No, I can’t. If for no other reason than there is no single, universally accepted, set of libertarian principles.

          1. Im trying to figure out which one of YOUR principles is violated by reaching out to rednecks?

            1. The Ick principle.

            2. Didn’t know you cared that much, robc.

              The leave-us-alone principal was violated. Privacy. Pursuit of happiness.

              These are my principals, and I know that I fail any number of libertarian purity tests. But you asked.

              1. PrinciPLEs, of course. D’oh!

              2. True, reaching out to Rednecks isn’t leaving them alone.

                Betrayed indeed.

                1. Reaching out to social conservatives, who believe it’s the job of government to dictate morality violates my principle that government should strive wherever possible to leave people alone to pursue their own happiness.

                  1. Right, they (said conservatives) do need a lot help. Reach out to them.

          2. Fine, use those espoused by Rothbard. I’m sure Rockwell accepts them (or at least claims to).

  16. High five on the alt text. You should use this as a remediation tool for your less well developed alt texters.

  17. I will take Rockwell’s idiotic views over the bigots who favor the War on Drugs.

    compare and contrast.

    1. At least the drug warriors are internally consistent. How exactly can Rockwell claim on the one hand that we need to control all the evil inner city yutes, but on the other hand say we are going to have a smaller less intrusive government? Bullshit.

      Rockwell is all for “freedom and rights” as long as said freedom and rights doesn’t prevent him from keeping the darkies in line.

      The guy was a hypocrite and a clinical idiot.

      1. “How exactly can Rockwell claim on the one hand that we need to control all the evil inner city yutes, but on the other hand say we are going to have a smaller less intrusive government”

        I would assume on property rights grounds (inner city looters violating property rights of others), but I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt since it was a play to win the support of racists.

      2. Internally consistent?

        Not all drugs are under attack in the war.

        And again, maybe Rockwell didn’t actually write that. Seems simple.

        1. Then Paul did. Regardless, Rockwell wanted to get the Archie Bunker vote for libertarianism. Sorry, you couldn’t do that while also maintaining any kind of commitment to protections for the accused.

          Rothbard’s idiocy and his plan to appeal to racists was not only 20 years too late but also tainted an entire generation of libertarians. Get rid of everyone associated with him and bring in a new generation of politicians.

          1. So it was only Paul and Rockwell who possibly could have written the contributions?

            And you could certainly get the “Archie Bunker” vote while maintaining libertarian principles. Just as you could get the Leftist one, as Rothbard tried before. As long as you remain committed to private property.

          2. John, shut up.

          3. Rothbard’s idiocy and his plan to appeal to racists was not only 20 years too late but also tainted an entire generation of libertarians. Get rid of everyone associated with him and bring in a new generation of politicians.

            John, are you serious? Purging the libertarian movement of every Rothbardian would cut our ranks down by at least three-fourths and would entirely exclude the Austrian School camp from participating. Regardless of whether you agree with Rothbard’s political strategies (I certainly don’t), it’s nothing more than a snap judgement to call a Columbia PhD with over forty academic books under his belt and all of his followers “stupid”.

      3. Hypocrite? Yes. Idiot? No. He was deliberately betraying principals to pander to socons. See my 10:59 above.

        1. “Just because you’re intelligent doesn’t mean you’re smart.”

      4. But not a bigot (well, maybe that too).

        Is it okay for bigots to be internally consistent?

        And if they are so fucking consistent, why is alcohol legal? And why are crack and cocaine penalties so different? Where is the fucking consistency.

        Obama is a racist bigot.
        Newt is a racist bigot.
        Romney is a racist bigot.
        etc

        I was about to make another comment but I started slipping into a Monty Python sketch.

        1. You say that like it would be some kind of problem. Besides, I came here for an argument.

          1. Wrong one.

            I was going to say something about “next to slavery, only the war on druges…” but then I realized that I said the same thing about the income tax last week so started to modify it to “next to slavery and the income tax…” then realized if I went down that path the list was gonna get silly.

          2. No, you came here for an argument.

  18. Pornographic photography, “free” thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda-no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them. In addition to their aesthetic and moral disabilities, these “art forms” are political liabilities outside Berkeley and Greenwich Village. […]

    Well, this possibly explains Virginia Postrel’s post-libertarian career.

  19. I’m new to libertarianism, and know nothing of it’s history as a movement in America. Lew Rockwell sure comes off as a whiny little bitch in this essay. Rockwell is going to have to grow up and accept that not every one will conform to his ideal. Shit, the movement is based on individual liberty after all! Some of his argument may have been relevant in the dark days before the internets. But now, liberty minded people can congregate and become a cohesive unit even if there are some disagreements between individual personalities. This is reflected in the Hit&Run; commentariat and the Ron Paul movement. Note to Reason editors: Nobody gives a shit about the rifts between the old guard LP types.

    1. “I’m new to libertarianism, and know nothing of it’s history as a movement in America.”

      _Radicals for Capitalism_ is a good start.

      “…is going to have to grow up and accept that not every one will conform to his ideal.”

      Oh, you’ll have fun in camp “L.” ;D

      1. I’ll stay “l”. I’m not a joiner, and am weary of any movement even if it is “L”.

        1. I *almost* wrote “l”, darnit. I thought it looked too much like “I”, that is, independent.

      2. I’ll second Radicals for Capitalism. That book clarified a lot for me as well.

    2. The cosmos have much more cultural contempt for the paleos than vice-a-versa.

      1. If by “contempt” you mean proactive rhetoric, yes. But the paleos’ opposition to gay marriage is really a sticking point for me and demonstrates more animus than any amount of rhetoric could.

        This is not to reopen that debate. I know you people have justified this stance to yourselves as consistent with your principles.

        But I do enjoy the paleos whining about how the kids are mean to them and don’t respect them.

        1. But the paleos’ opposition to gay marriage is really a sticking point for me and demonstrates more animus than any amount of rhetoric could.

          You don’t understand Tonio, queers are icky.

      2. The cosmos have much more cultural contempt for the paleos than vice-a-versa.

        That’s because the paleos are leave me alone libertarians while the cosmos are we can create a better society libertarians.

        The former are inherently for smaller, decentralized government while the latter would be as obnoxious as the socialists if they ever came to power.

    3. Heh. As one of the other commenters says here every so often, “there are slightly more flavors of libertarianism than there are libertarians.”

      We all disagree on what, exactly, libertarianism is; and many of us change on our own position depending on which day of the week we’re asked. Libertarianism is, at heart, the political philosophy of people who don’t like being told what to do, and are honest enough to admit that they probably aren’t helping others by telling them what they should do. Usually. Unless what other people do really, really offends them.

      Slightly tongue-in-cheek here, but don’t miss the truth that everyone agrees with about 90% of the definition of libertarianism, no one agrees 100% with anyone else’s libertarianism, but we sure do like to fight about that 10%.

      1. robc’s two rules of libertarianism (and humor detection system):

        1. Everyone agrees with libertarians about something.

        2. No two libertarians agree about anything.

        1. The very foundation of both radical political movements is to create a “stateless” agricultural city-State (civilization.)

          The minarchists libertarians are like the Stalinists, realizing that a stateless agricultural city-State (civilization) is a contradiction, a political oxymoron, and therefore are inclined to use aggression, government, against other humans (while whitewashing the aggression – I know you don’t call it that. It still is.)

          The salient difference between communism and libertarianism is how they want to use the space within the prison of city-Statism:

          ? Libertarians want to build prison bars between everybody, especially between the trustees and the general population. Their fetish is to privatize the prison cafeteria, basically so the trustees get more food. They call it individualism.

          ? Communists want to force everybody into group dormitories. They call it community.

          Both think life outside the prison, gamboling about plain and forest, would be the worst thing ever.

        2. I disagree. #2 should say “No two libertarians agree about everything”

          🙂

          1. Damn you! Damn you all to hell!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsbYx6hevoQ

  20. “[D]o not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to ‘do something.’ By ‘ideological’ (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals (e.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the ‘libertarian’ hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism). To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies.”
    -Ayn Rand

  21. Trolling for an aging-hipster rehabilitation of Bauhaus in an at-best-misguided attempt at outreach to lower-class (very) white paleo-post-punks is more divisive than productive.

    I’m telling Pitchfork.

  22. Dude that may well be the coolest thing ever man. WOw.

    http://www.privacy-works.tk

  23. “Looks like libertarianism was strong enough survive[sic] the onslaught of Bahaus architecture enthusiasts after all.”

    Making a cracpot cosnpiracy wacko like Ron Pail the great libertarian hope is a way of surviving as a marginal cult, but if enough donations come in, Matt Welch doesn’t gove a flying fuck.

    1. Misspelling and semi-coherent rants are a good start, Max. Needs moar ALL CAPS and !!1!

      1. Your clich?d retort is even worse.

        1. Max deserves no support.

  24. Pornographic photography, “free” thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda-no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them.

    This is like an attack on the basic premise of The Declaration of Independents, isn’t it?

    With Matt Welch refuting Rockwell’s text–with photos–and doing an excellent job of it.

    The MLK criticism is so hard to get. A private citizen standing up to the state for freedom shouldn’t be lionized–because of his ideology?

    If there’s a strain in libertarian thought that should be purged, it’s the idea that it’s not enough that people come to the right conclusions–they need to get there for the right reasons.

    1. The MLK criticism is so hard to get. A private citizen standing up to the state for freedom shouldn’t be lionized–because of his ideology?”

      Yes. His ideology was anti-property, and he advocated privilege.

      However, it is never a good strategy to attack a sacred cow.

      1. It’s not about him being a sacred cow for me.

        It’s about someone standing up to the police and state governments by disobeying their unjust laws and winning more freedom for himself and others…

        I have a hard time criticizing someone who achieved so much for freedom–because he didn’t know as much about economics as we do?

        If people lionize MLK because of his accomplishments, then criticizing them becasue MLK’s economics weren’t so great isn’t enforcing a libertarian purity test–it’s missing the forest for the trees!

        1. His poor economics led to less freedom. He advocated greater government intrusion in people’s lives (i.e. unfreedom) He should be criticized for that.

        2. I was once a civil rights leader. Lead marches. Championed legislation. Now I’m just a white boy’s cudgel.

          So diminished.

    2. +1

      Say what you will about Louie Rockwell but the man knows how to write a book review 20 years in advance…

  25. Jesus fuck.

    What the Reason commetariat and Opus Dei have in common:

    http://www.google.com/search?q…..80&bih=624

    1. This is what happens when you try to do politics without a consistent, coherent philosophical base.

      1. Republicans and Democrats don’t recriminate like this and they are the standard bearers of inconsistency and incoherence.

        1. They dont? Then explain Newt’s comments about Paul?

          1. In the technical sense that Paul is a Republican, yes, you have a point. However, neither side is prone to introspective belly gazing to the point of self destruction. That is what losers do.

        2. Republicans and Democrats don’t recriminate like this

          Have you been asleep during the recent campaign?

          1. see chris|12.29.11 @ 11:53AM|# for the broader point. Emphasis on the ‘like this’ on the content you are commenting so I do understand why that single sentence may not have communicated enough of my intended meaning.

            Unfortunately, I have been fully awake this campaign season. Could use a break.

            1. Had you been fully awake, you would have noticed that my comment and robc’s were posted at the same time. Not that your premise that Republicans and Democrats do not argue and contradict one another over philosophical issues is not accurate. See also Will Rogers’ oft-cited quip: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” The same idea applies to libertarians.

    2. Human sacrifice victims have to be virgin, you know.

      1. Nice.

        As an aside, if the historical Jesus actually lived, he was most likely married as bachelorhood was a rarity among males of his station. As some Jewish scholars pointed out, there is no reason that his wife would have been mentioned in the Gospel.

        1. Jesus is a mythological solar deity, based on astro-theology, just like Isis, Osiris, Mithras, Dionysus, etc. With some of the Jesus character’s words plagiarized from Buddhist scriptures, which makes him sorta cool.

          But not too cool. It’s still a human sacrifice religion built on appeasing the gods to try make agriculture work. There are thousands of clay pots with baked infants and children found all over the Levant.

          That’s the horror of agriculture, and religion does little to mitigate it.

          (Although religion doesn’t cause it like the idiotic new atheists purport.)

        2. Or they just call me a whore.

  26. …in your music selection I suggested yesterday in comment 2723077.

    Thank you, you love me, you really love me!
    ~The Mask

  27. Matt Welch refuses to confront the issue that motivated him and his fellow cosmotarians to launch their smear campaign against Paul in the first place: the fact that the “right-wing populist” strategy worked. Ron Paul and his movement are clearly Rothbardians — Gary Johnson and his non-movement are the creation of the Beltway libertarians. Which one is succeeding — and which one is failing miserably?

    By the way, Matt — have you finished reading Atlas Shrugged yet? Or did you get stuck on page 99 of Galt’s speech?

    1. The “right-wing populist” strategy worked.

      It may have worked to get him back into congress and onto the national stage, but surely you’re not suggesting that these newsletters are helping him win the presidency, are you?

      1. No, Dennis is suggesting that although the newsletters were offensive, they weren’t racist, and they were part of a strategy that bore fruit 20 years later, so it’s OK anyway.

        Or something.

    2. Yeah, these creeps are constantly smearing Ron Paul by quoting him verbatim. By the way, Justin, are you part of a gay conspiracy? Why don’t you get back in the fucking closet like Ron Paul says?

      1. That’s pathetic, Max.

    3. Have you ever gone for a ride on the New Mexico beltway? It’s a blast.

      I’d hardly call Gary Johnson a left wing libertine either – he was elected Gov and ran for Gov. and Pres. as a fiscal conservative…

      1. Libertine means:

        a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality; specifically : one leading a dissolute life

        As used by Rockwell, it refers to “alternative lifestyles”. IE Gays, Wife Swappers, Druggies, Dirty Hippies, NAMBLA members etc.

    4. “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land .. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the RIGHT to TAKE over this continent.” ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974

      Read that again. The RIGHT. To TAKE.

      That’s the way city-Statists roll. They take.

      And although they can spew volumes of whitewash to cover up the brutal genocide of the American Indian Holocaust, every now and then the blood. Soaks. Through.

      Ayn was just being honest, for once.

      P.S. You’d figure somebody who was, ahem, ANTI-WAR, would actually study some empirical data — anthropology, geology, history — about how war originated.

      The Origins of War
      by John Zerzan
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/20298938/Ze…..ins-of-War

      1. My lack of melanin is my license.

        1. Rothbard’s racialist science is in the house!

    5. What smear campaign against Paul? Do you mean Rockwell? I think you do. By the way Atlas Shrugged is a shit novel.

  28. I can totally understand where Rockwell is coming from in this piece though. As one who is not a libertine, this was how the movement struck me before my “conversion” to libertarianism. That said, Lew Rockwell was the main force in “converting” me.

    1. You realy think anybody gives a flying fuck what converted you, you self-centered cock sucker?

      1. Somebody needs a hug.

      2. Bringing in the sheaves,
        Bringing in the sheaves,
        We shall go rejoicing,
        Bringing in the sheaves.

        sung like a true agricultural city-Statist

      3. Show us on the doll where Congressman Paul touched you, Max.

    2. I argue myself around here that we need to learn to be less hostile and more accepting of religious people–that’s actually a big tent argument Rockwell was making at the time.

      When Rockwell’s raging against libertines, though, that’s not a big tent argument at all. The world has become more like what Rockwell was raging against. We should be making the same argument to both the libertine side and the culturally conservative side of the movement.

      If we’re about the idea that people are generally better off when they’re free to make choices for themselves, there’s no reason why we should make any libertine or conservative feel unwelcome.

      The difference between libertarian libertines and non-libertarian libertines should be that the libertarians aren’t trying to impose their will on conservatives. With libertarian conservatives, it’s the same thing–they shouldn’t be trying to impose their will on libertines either.

      So, we’re looking at a false choice here. Different people are first attracted to different aspects of libertarianism–based on what they care about. Open hostility to either the libertine side or the conservative side will necessarily be counterproductive one way or the other.

      And that’s what I don’t get about the strategy. The hostility to libertines is counterproductive and unnecessary. If you want to appeal to conservatives, go right ahead! But why the hostility to libertines?

      Appealing to conservatives does not require hostility to libertines. I just don’t see personal liberty as the problem–just like I don’t see religious liberty as the problem.

      1. …which was human-sacrificed for thee.

        Cannibalism worship. It’s American.

        Don’t forget the vampirism either! “Drink, this is my blood of the covenant.”

  29. The Bauhaus cover of “Telegram Sam” was also not horrible.

  30. The right-wing populist strategy was and is all about foreign policy — coalescing with conservatives who, after the end of the cold war, were coming to reevaluate their militarism. The only obstacles to this “new fusionism” were “cultural” issues, the crux of the whole phony “left-right” “red-state/blue state” dichotomy that empowers Fox News (and MSNBC). Paul is a cultural conservative — and a libertarian. His success is living proof that the “cosmotarian” “liberal-tarian” non-strategy is a dead end.

    1. Well, I think we’re talking about different things when we’re talking about the right-wing populist strategy.

      What I’ve been talking about (and what I think Welch’s post is about) is the strategy of open hostility toward libertines.

      If this strategy is being misunderstood or mischaracterized, that would be really interesting to read about. But those quotes Welch used up there seem pretty self-explanatory.

      1. Ken, see here:

        http://students.uis.edu/araut0…..right.html

        This is Murray’s 1992 address to the John Randolph Club, where the strategy is explained at length. Although he endorsed Rockwell’s piece in Liberty (as did I), the best overview is in this talk — which, by the way, Welch, Weigel, Julian Sanchez (and their allies at the New York Times) have ignored

        1. Thank you.

        2. It’s refreshing to read some actual source material instead of cherry picked quotes.

          1. Indeed, this is an interesting post.

          2. “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they’re accurately sourced.”

            – Abraham Lincoln

    2. Didn’t Justin Raimondo actually once have the libertine image within the libertarian movement that Rockwell was concerned about? How did he end up as an apologist for paleolibertarianism?

      1. I may be a “libertine” — or, more accurately, a wannabe libertine — in my personal life, that is quite different from imposing my own lifestyle on the entire movement by exluding Christians, and other religious folks, as well as traditionalists, from the libertarian movement. Libertarianism is culturally neutral: this is the essential point.

        1. The hierarchy of control-freak dominionism is the same between Christians and Capitalists (including libertarians.)

          ? JEVOVALLAH (The Invisible Hand)
          ? EMERGENT ELITE (Kings, Industrialist Heroes)
          ? MAN (owns everything below)
          ? WOMAN (submits to husband)
          ? ANIMALS (submit to husbandry)
          ? NATURE (worthless unless used up by hierarchy)

          “No new set of basic values has been accepted in our society to displace those of Christianity. Hence we shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.”

          ~Lynn White, Jr., The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, Science, New Series, Vol. 155, No. 3767 (Mar. 10, 1967), pp. 1203-1207

          1. Yep. The bait is liberty. The switch is when the libertarian control freaks own you.

            All by legal contract, of course, and then beating the shit out of you is, by definition, not abuse. See?

            He’d like more than anything else to boss me around, and then whip me every time…never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me. Then, without this financial arrangement…”

            Voluntary Slave Contracts
            by Walter Block
            http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block134.html

            Next: LIBERTARIAN SNUFF FILMS, INC. as a “financial arrangement.” Mel Gibson directing.

          2. Libertarians reaching out to Christians is damn smart strategy then.

            1. They’re both hierarchical control-freak ideologies, whitewashing their dominionism with volumes of text about “freedom” in Christ or “freedom” in Capitalism.

              1. As are people who object to rape and murder – quit trying to control your bodies, freaks! – first we’ll reach out to the Christians, then the feminists, then total liberation!

        2. You might call it culturally neutral, but the natural extension is a more cosmopolitan culture. If you make it illegal to beat up and spit on exposed women or open gays or overt Jews in the middle of Riyadh, I think the local Saudis might dispute the extent to which liberty is culturally neutral.

          Sure, lack of coercion doesn’t preference one style of living over another. But when one side in a culture war just wants to be left alone and the other side wants to use force (to eliminate gambling, pornography, prostitution, nudity, whatever) then liberty effectively takes sides.

          1. Neither side just wants to be left alone.

          2. When one side in a culture war* just wants to be left alone to live a Non-State lifeway of hunting and foraging, and the other side wants to use force (to eliminate gamboling, hunting, gathering) then liberty effectively takes sides.

            Unfortunately, Libertarians choose city-Statist aggression — and then try to whitewash the violence inherent in the system.

            _____________
            * The Invasion Within
            The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America
            James Axtell
            Oxford University Press
            http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general…..0195041545

            1. I think you meant “fortunately.” There are too many people to have a lifeway of “hunting and foraging” for everyone.

              I choose farming and ranching (not normally associated with the city-state, but whatever) and that won’t work with billions of thieves.

              1. At least you’re honest about your personal choice of aggression, agricultural city-Statist.

                Farming (more precisely, domestication and “husbandry”) is the origin of warfare.

                The Origins of War
                John Zerzan
                http://www.scribd.com/doc/20298938/Ze…..ins-of-War

                1. The fact that (it claims) agriculture to be responsible for polygamy makes the choice a no-brainer.

                  And modern agricultural, society is less violent than that of the hunter-gatherer, so even if it is the origin of warefare, it is still the better choice.

  31. Ron Paul: The Real Truth.

    If you want the real truth about Ron Paul and what he did for a black man who was married to a white woman while she was in the hospital, then take a look at the following video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxfxCpt8mtY

  32. … atonal music, …have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda-no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them.

    The problem is, the category of “people who revel in atonal music” doesn’t actually exist.

    I just find it hilarious that he throws atonal music in his list of, well, it’s hard to say what his list is supposed to be. He conflates his personal dislike of modernism, with anti-western, and libertine. And by the time he wrote this, not only was atonal music dead, but most musicians, libertine, modernist, anti-western, or otherwise, were happily dancing on its grave.

    1. “These things are not the things I grew up with! All decent people like the things I like!”

      1. Newt, is that you?!

    2. Or he was just cribbing from Hitler, who had a very similar list of ‘degenerate’ cultural forms.

  33. Every time police break down the wrong door in a no-knock drug raid to find two ounces of marijuana, I blame contemporary abstract art.

    When ICE sweeps through a town and separates citizen children from their migrant parents, I blame bauhaus architecture.

    1. Thread winner.

  34. Bauhaus’s Ziggy Stardust cover is better (OMG) than the Bowie original.

  35. Newsletter content looks exactly like Lew Rockwell’s style of writing.

    He needs to fess up for them.

    1. But if Lew Rockwell tanks his career by admitting to noxious bigoted statements, who will protect Western civilization from atonal music?

      I guess God-fearing Americans could turn to Newt Gingrich, “leader of the civilizing forces.”

      1. Rock Music with an African Beat is the Whole Problem. ~Bob Jones

  36. Lew Rockwell, by the way, is not the author of the infamous newsletters. And no one has offered any hard evidence that he is. Not that this will stop Ed Crane, Matt Welch, and the rest of the cosmotarians losers from making that unwarranted assumption. Lew was too busy, at the time, to do it: he was running the Mises Institute. The person who did write most of them is not well-known to libertarians, or to anyone else.

    1. Do you happen to know who exactly Justin?

      1. Crazy Uncle Dennis doesn’t exactly have a penchant for clarity, so don’t expect an answer.

        Since Justin is flinging poo, I would have to ask: what is the evidence that Paleopandering has worked? So far as I can tell, there is little to none. The Tea Party? Co-opted. Ron Paul? Love the guy; not going to win the nomination or get a seat at the table. So what’s the proof?

        1. The Tea Party? Co-opted. Ron Paul? Love the guy; not going to win the nomination or get a seat at the table.

          You’re little early on both those calls dipshit.

    2. Justin, if you know for a fact who wrote them, call the person out publicly. Otherwise STFU. Your in-the-know posturing is embarrassing otherwise.

      1. Why does it matter who wrote the fucking newsletters? Why give a shit Raimondo claims to “know”?

        1. I don’t really care if he claims to know or not. His post just annoyed me. However, why care who wrote them? I guess if you don’t know who wrote them you have to attribute their content directly to the undersigned author. I’m pretty sure Ron doesn’t want that.

  37. Ron Paul’s rise has certainly gotten many libertarian ideas, particularly on the Federal Reserve, more mainstream recognition. It’s existence used to almost be completely ignored.

    1. Yeah but he had to appeal to dumb rednecks who worship the flying spaghetti monster and doesn’t appreciate the pro-market incentive “nudge” of banning lightbulbs so Ron Paul isn’t cool like Gary Johnson and the weed tax.

  38. The libertarian obsession with “owning” this issue through either excessively condemning it or reflexively explaining it away is the most boring inter-libertoid fight ever. Shut up all of you. There’s a state to smash.

    1. This is nothing new; I’ve seen libertarians call for the purging of the religious, Austrians, monetarists, Randians, incrementalists, and purists from our already small movement. We’re a few steps away from establishing a Party Line and sending anyone who deviates from it to Siberia.

      1. I agree. The correct formula is victory first, then purges. Even the fucking commies figured that out.

  39. “The LP can’t be taken seriously because of all the morally relativist libertines. Therefore, the better political strategy is clearly to cater to racists at precisely the moment society starts considering racism the ultimate political taboo and accepts morally relativist libertinism as mainstream entertainment.”

  40. There is this scene in Lord of the Rings, where Saruman proposes to Gandalf “We must join with him [Sauron], that would be wise my friend”, Gandalf replies “Tell me, friend, since when does Saruman the Wise choose madness over reason” … somehow that came to my mind when reading about this proposed palaeo-conservative-libertarian alliance by Rockwell and Paul’s response.

  41. I read the companion piece (newsletter) from February 1990, and I am a bit confused at the apoplectic response across the political spectrum. Sure, it contains the usual sort of dumb generalizations, but it also names individuals and speaks of their statism.

    The generalization is poorly reasoned and exhibit poor taste to be sure, but you cannot disregard the political context of the time (Lyndon LaRouche anyone?). Moreover, I remember that era as something of a turf war within the Libertarian Party, and I believe the rancor seen in the newsletters bears this out.

    It appears to me that the libertarian movement of Lew Rockwell has made some reconciliation with the straw man ideals he attacks in the 1990 hit piece. As someone alluded to above, LRC (for instance) seems much more accepting of what he would have considered “libertine” values two decades ago.

    In summary, I would say the “glass half full” libertarian who wants us all to just get along would chalk up the last 21 years to philosophical growth rather than some highly unlikely plot to conceal an ongoing cancerous bigotry.

  42. In its 17-year history, the LP may never have gotten 1% in a national election

    I say again: Anybody who claims to have the solution that will get libertarians out of single-digit election returns is selling you snake oil. Run, don’t walk, from such people and their bogus plans for electoral domination.

    1. Run as a Republican.Seems to work for Ron Paul.

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