Van Jones (Sorta) Walks Back His Weird, Fact-Free Attack on "So-Called Libertarians"

|

Last we heard from Van Jones, President Obama's former Green Jobs czar, he was trashing "so-called libertarians" for hating brown folks, gays, lesbians, immigrants and people with piercings. Called on it during an appearance on RT's The Alyona Show (where—full disclosure!—Reason's myriad personalities regularly opine), Jones modified his statement:

"Well, well listen– but that's, that's American politics. Ya know, I mean, you guys should know that.  American politics people– we mix it up. I've never backed down from a fight over ideas. I'm tired … of a certain section of people acting like they have having a monopoly on patriotism. They don't. … And so now I'm saying, 'two can play that game if you want to.'"

"That statement I made was overly broad. I should have said the 'so-called libertarians who identify themselves with this sort of ultra-right wing camp.' Because there are libertarians that don't have those views."

"I've met libertarians who say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. King, is somebody they can't support because someone should have the right to exclude people in this country from being able to go into a restaurant, or go into a hotel, or go into a place of business solely based on the color of their skin."

Don't you just love it when a person who trades in identity politics actually uses the word? Jones still doesn't appear to know what a libertarian is, or what a libertarian believes, only that some of them believe some of the things Jones believes, and the rest hate Martin Luther King Jr. For a rebuttal, I turn this post over to Reason's own Ron Bailey

[MLK's "I have a dream"] speech also lent momentum to two of the most consequential pieces of civil rights legislation in American history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act outlawed state-sanctioned and enforced racial discrimination in the form of Jim Crow laws. For example, it allowed blacks to come down out of that theatre balcony in Bristol Virginia. The Voting Rights Act insured that Southern blacks who were being systematically denied the franchise by corrupt voter registration officials would have access to the ballot box.

Sure, these laws are not perfect. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been interpreted as authorizing the creation of affirmative action programs. This despite the fact that Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) declared specifically that Title VII "would prohibit preferential treatment for any particular group," and famously promised that if this turned out to be wrong that he would eat the pages on which the statute was printed. I wonder if the Senator would have liked the pages sautéed or with a nice béchamel? And yes, the Voting Rights Act has led to "racial gerrymandering." Still, we are a far better, and fairer country because of those laws.

Emphasis added, of course. Read more Reason on MLK's legacy, and the importance and of civil rights laws, here

NEXT: Kochs File Second Lawsuit Against Cato

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. So-called Van Jones, that is.

  2. Riggs, I don’t know if it’s advisable to use a Bailey rebuttal that walks back the definition of what a libertarian is, either.

    1. The Rand Paul rebuttal is better than Bailey’s:

      “One of the things freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized. But that doesn’t mean we approve of it.”

      1. But what you and Paul don’t understand is that people like Van Jones believe in a totalitarian ideology. It is not enough to stand on the sidelines. You can’t be neutral in the eyes of a totalitarian ideology. If you are not actively supporting the ideology, you are actively supporting its enemies. There is no middle ground with people like Jones.

        So it doesn’t matter how much you protest and say “you only support someone’s right to be that way not that you approve of it”. It won’t matter to the proponent and believer in a totalitarian ideology.

        1. If you disapprove something then you must ban it, for allowing something means you implicitly approve it.

          not banning = approving

          inaction = action

          liberal = retard

          1. Totalitarian is a variation of “Total”. That means the ideology encompasses everything. There isn’t anything outside of the ideology. Even its enemies are part of the ideology since they are defined by their opposition to it.

            There is a reason why the Left went apeshit when Bush said you are with us or against us. They are exactly the same only about every single issue.

    2. Riggs, I don’t know if it’s advisable to use a Bailey rebuttal that walks back the definition of what a libertarian is, either.

      As it’s been noted before Fluffy, just because one is published in a libertarian minded screed, doesn’t make one libertarian.

      Weigal, anyone?

      1. I think it’s worse than that here, though.

        What’s really happening here is that Jones has completely changed the content of his criticism.

        When Jones said,”They say they’re Patriots but they hate everybody in America who looks like us. They say they love America but they hate the people, the brown folk, the gays, the lesbians, the people with piercings, ya know ya’ll,” it was appropriate to respond to him by saying, “Nuh-uh, that’s not us!”

        But now Jones has shifted gears and abandoned that statement in favor of a new one saying that libertarians don’t support the Civil Rights Act. The appropriate thing to say now is “Van Jones is changing his story and making false equivalencies.” It is not appropriate to still say, “Nuh-uh, that’s not us!” because – sorry, Riggs – it is.

        If there’s a libertarian constituency that doesn’t oppose the Civil Rights Act, it’s pretty small.

        Rothbardians – oppose Civil Rights Act
        LPA – opposes Civil Rights Act
        Objectivists – oppose Civil Rights Act
        Rockwellians – oppose Civil Rights Act
        Paulites – oppose Civil Rights Act

        So where are they? Gathered in Ron Bailey’s office cube?

        1. So where are they? Gathered in Ron Bailey’s office cube?

          Not likely.

        2. You’re making it seem like there are more libertarians than there are by splitting Rockwellians from Rothbardians.

          I’m sure there are a few Cato fellows who are for the CRA, whether they are libertarians at all is another question.

        3. It kinda depends on what you mean by “oppose the civil rights act”, doesn’t it?

          Does that mean you can’t agree with the statement that, from a utilitarian point of view, it did more good than bad, at least so far? Or does that mean you simply oppose affirmative action and the public-accommodation-nationalization of a whole crapload of previously private property?

          1. utilitarian point of view

            Fuck the utilitarian point of view.

            /Rule 34?

        4. If by oppose, you mean “would make it a priority to repeal”, I doubt you’ll find many takers.

          If you mean “inconsistent with our minarchist philosophy, wouldn’t have voted for the “public accomodations” bits back in the day”, yeah, sure.

          1. No civil rights act protected me and my family during the eighties when we sat in a diner for three hours waiting to be seated.

            If you’re ever in Arlington, VA, I’m still boycotting Bob and Edith’s. Japanese people never forget.

        5. “Jones has completely changed the content of his criticism”

          It’s a pity that he can’t completely change the content of his character.

      2. “Weigal, anyone?”

        Deliberate misspelling?

        1. Yeppers. If I were spelling it correctly, it would have been typed, “Ratfuck”.

    3. I think that Bailey’s response is fine. Yes there is a problem for libertarians with the part of the CRA that makes private businesses do things. I’ll object to those parts on principle, but at the end of the day, I’d say that it is better for freedom that the law passed than if it didn’t. You have to pick your battles (well, you don’t have to, but you know what I mean) if you are talking about what is in legislation and this is one of the less offensive things that the government forces people to do. Would it be better without it? I think so, but I think that the CRA and VRA are good things on balance. If I had been a legislator at the time I probably would have voted for it.

        1. If a bill is a mixture of good and bad parts, that makes it a bad bill.

          There are plenty of parts of the 1964 act getting the government out of the nasty business of discrimination. Then there’s the restriction on private business which, even if it would have been OK if enforced as written, was *not* in fact enforced as written and got the government in the business of second-guessing business decisions without proving that these decisions were motivated by racism as sane people know the term. Then it provided incentives for race discrimination, of the sort that should have triggered Humphrey’s eat-the-bill promise.

          The Voting Rights Act was necessary, because several states were trying to blatantly and unconstitutionally disenfranchise black people because they were black. The Act got rid of these tactics. Now the law is being used to go after techniques (like showing ID) which sane people do not think of as racist, but the answer here is to add some amendments – and get rid of the outdated “preclearance” provision.

      1. I’d say that it is better for freedom that the law passed than if it didn’t

        Wrong. No civil rights act protected me and my family during the eighties when we sat in a diner for three hours waiting to be seated.

        If you’re ever in Arlington, VA, I’m still boycotting Bob and Edith’s. Japanese people never forget.

  3. Two comments too slow to be first… story of my life…

  4. Why would I care what Van Jones says about anything? I could visit the local kindergarten or mental hospital and find more coherent political opinions.

    1. Unfortunately, people of all colors have Jones’ mindset… and a lot of them have political power. One more reason we’re fucked.

  5. I guess any statements made because someone was exercised about politics came with a ready-made excuse to absolve the utterer of all responsibility.

    “Van Jones is a socialist environmentalist wacko who hates apple pie, America, and white people. Oh, sorry Van, you know how it is. I don’t back down from a fight, even if the statements I make are inflammatory and fact-free.”

    1. I missed the “fact-free” part of your statement. Unless its the part about apple pie.

      1. It really is astonishing what Van Jones is saying here. Basically, he is saying that all of American politics is a roiling cauldron, and anything you say as a result of that “heat” cannot be held against you.

        Really, that means that any public figure can say anything they want at any time and expect not to be held responsible for the lies they tell. Wow.

        1. That is what he is saying. But that is not what he means. Rest assured the other side doesn’t get such deference.

        2. Really, that means that any public figure can say anything they want at any time and expect not to be held responsible for the lies they tell. Wow.

          Barring the occasional egregious verbal fuck up, this has stopped them…when?

      2. I missed the “fact-free” part of your statement. Unless its the part about apple pie.

        The pie is a lie.

  6. Hey….he can’t use the “L” word! That’s our word! Just for us!

    1. That’s right. He must call us liberty-loving Americans.

      Shiieet, libertarian, you da man!

  7. The Alyona Show (where?full disclosure!?Reason’s myriad personalities regularly opine)

    Alyona is Mary Stack?

    1. Mary Stack never represented any of Reason’s personalities – she could barely keep up with all of hers.

      1. You know she killed herself in direct response to the ridicule by you and others. Shame, shame, shame.

        http://afflictor.com/wp-conten…..ching1.jpg

  8. “I’ve met libertarians who say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. King, is somebody they can’t support because someone should have the right to exclude people in this country from being able to go into a restaurant, or go into a hotel, or go into a place of business solely based on the color of their skin.”

    I bet Jones would have no problem with a black store owner having the right to tell some crackerdy ass cracker to shove off simply because he’s white.

  9. Let’s hope Jones doesn’t read the Derbyshire thread from the other day. I thought it was ugliest, most racist thing I’ve seen in the 10+ years I’ve been reading this site (though middle of the road for Lew Rockwell). It made me wonder if Jones was seeing something I’d been missing.

    1. You blow me well.

      1. LOL, you don’t even know what “dog whistle” means.

    2. Go clutch your pearls somewhere else.

      1. Pearl clutching, fainting couch, vapors, I love Victorian imagery.

      2. If you’d like liberty to be taken seriously, son, try not marginalizing 30+ million people.

        1. You know, Jersey Patriot, as much as you don’t like hearing it, much less accepting it, a good many of those 30+ million people are self-marginalizing. And you know what? That’s their fucking problem, not mine.

    3. JerseyPatriot, even libertarians can be racists. It is a political philosophy about individual liberty, and freedom. No libertarian should advocate abrogating the liberty or freedom of another person. No one in the thread you referenced advocated infringing the freedom of other people.

      Some people are racists, and that is a fact you will have to get used to.

      1. I agree with you, but you can’t be mad if people marginalize your movement and position by saying it is in fact filled with racists.

        1. It is no more filled with racists than any other political movement. Less than most.

          1. I don’t know if it is less or more than any other movement, but like I said if you want to come across as embracing it in the name of freedom, don’t be shocked when enemies attack you as being racist.

            You have to know when and where to pick a fight.

        2. So if the main premise of an ideology is they believe that everyone should be as free as possible, and the followers are actually living by their philosophy, how can you argue the ideology is racist?

          Please enlighten me.

          1. When you have a vocal segment of members of that movement championing racist ideology which should be the opposite of a libertarian ideology which lifts up the individual.

      2. I don’t see JerseyPatriot advocating infringing on the liberty of racists either. Racism is still a position born of ignorance and hate. That they weren’t advocating infringing on someone’s rights doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t call them out on their racism. Libertarians shouldn’t engage in Team politics, it is not okay when “our side” does it.

        Some people will not tolerate racists, even those that may be of a similar political persuasion. That’s a fact they will have to get used to.

        1. Libertarians shouldn’t engage in Team politics, it is not okay when “our side” does it.

          And that is the beauty of libertarian political philosophy, it isn’t a “team”. It is simply a philosophy of freedom and individual liberty.

          I don’t tolerate racism in my personal life, but I wouldn’t adopt a different political philosophy just because some other adherents may be racists.

          1. Which thread are they talking about? I can’t find anything that offensive using the site search.

            1. I think the morning links from yesterday. I could be wrong, though. And I didn’t read anything there that I thought was over the top. Maybe JerseyPatriot, David and Applederry wanted a uniform condemnation of Derbyshire?

              1. I don’t care or want anything regarding derbyshire.

            2. Maybe a conversation starting here:

              https://reason.com/blog/2012/04…..nt_2968918

  10. This just in: Van Jones finds a camera and claims, “I’m an idiot and I can prove it!”

  11. I like the take by the crazy kids over at Red Eye-

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jed…..c-racists/

    Especially Bill Schultz with this classic line –
    “”Who got him removed from office? Glenn Beck. What does Glenn claim to be? A libertarian. Is he? I don’t think so, but that’s what he perceives to be a libertarian he doesn’t know what it is,” Schultz surmised. “But he knows he’s angry at ’em. They cost him his job.”

    Sounds legit.

    1. Just what the hell is Glenn Beck anyway?

      1. Besides annoying? Not sure. You have to wade through so much bluster and sensationalizing it was never worth it to find out.

        1. He is that. I have never listened to him long enough to figure it out.

          1. He and Maher have a lot in common when it comes to claiming to be “sorta-libertarians-butnotreally”.

            It’s truly remarkable how many people get called libertarians who have basically nothing in common with libertarians.

      2. I never thought Glenn Beck was anything but a character being portrayed by someone of the same name. Kinda like Tony Danza always plays guys named Tony and Charlie Sheen always plays guys named Charlie.

        1. Come to think of it, Beck would have been a great Andy Kaufman character.

      3. He was actually traveling in a libertarian direction for a while a few years ago. Then he decided that Al-Qaeda and the Unions were in a conspiracy to subvert God’s will by defeating Israel in the End of Days. I really couldn’t take him any more after that. I found him vaguely entertaining when he was just Alex Jones-lite crossed with a tea-party poop flinger.

        1. Didn’t Beck generate a renewed interest in Wealth Of Nations? I can’t remember which one.

          He may not be a libertarian (now or before) but it can’t hurt to have that book more widely read.

          1. Even Better, IMO. It was Road to Serfdom

      4. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool Socon who calls himself a libertarian. IOW, he’s yet another idiot who throws around terms he doesn’t understand.

  12. Still, we are a far better, and fairer country because of those laws.

    Who is this ‘we’, kimosabe? Affluent whites like you and Ron who feel better about yourselves and the state of our nation? The unbounded urban political machines freed and unchecked to prey upon the populace that lives under the ‘self rule’ of those corrupt local institutions, or those very neighborhoods turned to squalor and shit by the cornucopia of Great Society laws and programs celebrated above?

    There is no win/win in politics. That sum will always be zero. As Sowell points out, the most affluent minorities avoid involvement in democratic processes. So under CRA, you are no longer constricted in voting for goods and services at expense of others, are you really freer? Take away my vote, but no restrictions on my trade to the extent I cause no directly measurable harm and do away with my taxes, and I’m infinitely more free than anything that you claim those two laws did for me.

    1. Maybe things would have changed on their own. People like Thomas Sowell think so. And maybe they are right.

      But there is no question we have a much better society today than in 1964. Sorry, I don’t pine for the days when it was considered scandalous for a white person to have a black friend or worse a black mate. No thanks.

      1. Sure we have a less racist society than 1964, and they were less racist than 1916, and they less than the 1860’s…

        Whether it’s a “better” society and if government had anything to do with it are both very debatable.

      2. Gains in affluence for blacks were occurring at a strong rate before The Great Society, and declined for more than a generation afterward. It is reasonable to assume that government not only had nothing to do with those gains, but retarded those gains as a result of these actions. With affluence comes social acceptance because you are the ones calling the shots with the ‘readiness’ of others being irrelevant.

        1. The Brooklyn Dodgers had more to do with it than the CRA.

  13. And what is the point of quoting that Bailey piece? To convince parasites lik Van Jones that he can go back to considering libertarians to be ‘mostly harmless’? I want Van Jones to think we are a threat to his way of life. That is what we should be!

  14. “I’ve met libertarians who say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. King, is somebody they can’t support because…

    It’s not that we’re *bad* people… its just that we’re all racists.

  15. I liked it better when Libertarians were like a giant racist Godzilla monster destroying all that is good in America with our despicable ideology. This whole, “well,…they don’t celebrate MLK day hard-enough?”-shit is weak tea, man.

    I think I know what its like to be black now, and someone goes, “…oh, but don’t worry = *you’re one of the good ones*”

  16. “I’ve met libertarians who say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. King, is somebody they can’t support because someone should have the right to exclude people in this country from being able to go into a restaurant, or go into a hotel, or go into a place of business solely based on the color of their skin.”

    Anonymous-tarians (and probably non-existent) are anonymous.

  17. “I wonder if the Senator would have liked the pages saut?ed or with a nice b?chamel?”

    Pssst…Humphrey’s dead.

  18. Did MLK ever advocate for state enforced desegregation?

  19. Mr. Jones needs to re-read his history. It was *government* that was locking people out of those lunch counters. Not the lunch counter owners. STATE and LOCAL LAWS prohibited blacks from eating with whites, using the same public toilets as whites, and riding on the same buses as whites.

    Civil rights activists were trying to get STATE INSTITUTED segregation removed, not the other way around (using the state to force integration).

    The left really needs to understand that it shares a common enemy with Libertarians, and that enemy is the STATE.

  20. “nes still doesn’t appear to know what a libertarian is, or what a libertarian believes”

    Ask 100 Libertarian what a libertarian is, and you’ll get 101 definitions. That’s the nature of libertarianism. I knew what he meant; there are people who talk the talk about small government and free markets, and don’t mean it. There’s also libertarians who are racist. That’s their right, I suppose, and I think van Jones has a right to his view, even if it comes across as abrasive and stupid.

    Having said all that, the reason I have a problem with the vilification of van Jones is because, well, here’s a guy who wants to go to inner-city people who live in neighborhoods where they’re using food stamps to buy “food” at convenience stores, and he wants to put them to work doing things like growing their own food. People working to grow their own food, instead of waiting for a government handout to buy Funyuns? I can’t hate that. I don’t know how anyone can hate that.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.