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Free Minds & Free Markets

Libertarianism Has Nothing to Offer Populist Authoritarians

Jeff Malet Photography/NewscomJeff Malet Photography/NewscomI am mystified by the claim that the long-standing libertarian critique of democracy furnishes aid and comfort to conservatives who display a taste for populist authoritarianism. Let me say at the outset that the libertarian critique has nothing to offer those who would impose legal or social disabilities on racial, ethnic, religious, and other minorities. If white supremacists see something helpful here, they are mere opportunists who would find something helpful to their cause in anything they looked at.

Right off the top we may ask where is this right-wing antipathy to democracy. On the contrary, I see a right-wing embrace of democracy even in the age of Trump. (Rush Limbaugh has long called himself the "doctor of democracy.") Which branch of government have conservatives of all stripes railed against most vigorously for decades? It's the judiciary, especially the U.S. Supreme Court. And what have the courts done to make conservatives so angry? They have invalidated actions of legislators—the supposed elected representatives of the people.

Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia were not the first conservatives to inveigh against unelected judges for vetoing the will of the people as expressed through the democratic branches of government. Bork, whose defeat at the hands of Democrats as Ronald Reagan's nominee for the Supreme Court, energized conservatives with his articulate defense of—wait for it— majoritarianism. Libertarians opposed him for that reason. I once heard Scalia say his job was not to strike down legislative acts that were unconstitutional, just those that were "really unconstitutional." (I did not add the emphasis.)

(We note here in passing that public choice analysis demonstrates that majority rule is in fact a chimera because special interests, as a result of collective-action problems among other things, are better positioned than the unorganized masses to achieve decisive clout over policy-making. Moreover, representative government was devised as a scam to defuse public opposition to what their rulers were doing.)

By pointing all this out, I do not deny the authoritarian element on the right, which Trump has brought to the forefront. There's an unappreciated connection among democracy, populism, and authoritarianism, which Friedrich Hayek noted in The Road to Serfdom. Democracy is inevitably slow and messy; it can bog down in endless debate and factionalism. Then, under certain circumstances, it can produce a strongman who condemns the dithering and promises swift action to carry out the "will of the people."

In contrast to conservatives, so-called liberal Democrats typically applaud court interference with legislatures, including Congress. (Remember, among others, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.)

So who are the democrats and who are the anti-democrats? Are libertarians responsible for the Democratic Party's support for judges who strike down democratically enacted laws?

To be sure, both "liberals" and conservatives are opportunists. They support judicial activism when it suits their agendas and oppose it when it does not. And, as Ilya Somin notes, each side tries to keep the other side's supporters from expressing themselves democratically, for example, through gerrymandering. But neither has been influenced by the libertarian critique of democracy.

Still, it is conservatives who make opposition to the courts their signature issue—to the point of being willing to elect any Republican president on the grounds that judicial appointments matter above all else.

It is libertarians (such as Randy Barnett) who have consistently espoused "principled judicial activism" over the conservatives' beloved "judicial restraint." Principled judicial activism is the maxim that judges should refuse to defer to the people's legislatures when freedom is at stake. It is otherwise known as the presumption of liberty.

More generally, progressives, such as those who dominate the Democrats today, have long favored anti-democratic entities like independent regulatory agencies, which have proliferated since before the Progressive Era. On the other hand, populists, in their anti-elitism, are more likely to prefer rule by elected assemblies to rule by unelected experts.

Moving on, we must consider whether radical libertarianism provides ammunition to conservatives. Somin notes that the libertarian insistence on robust property rights cannot have emboldened the right because the right has become increasingly less interested in property rights. Oh sure, conservatives may invoke property when it lines up with their prejudices, but they are more than happy to jettison it in other issues close to their hearts. I've yet to hear an advocate of the planned wall along the Mexican border demand that it be built without eminent domain. The same goes for the various energy pipelines about which they are so excited. Property rights also don't figure in their enthusiasm for cracking down on immigration, legal and illegal. (Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant?) If conservatives have been inspired by the libertarian commitment to property rights, then they have badly misread the fundamental works of the most influential libertarians of our time.

A debate of sorts has opened between Somin and Will Wilkinson over whether property is at the heart of the libertarian critique of democracy. Wilkinson blames the "libertarian theory of ironclad 'natural' property rights" for bolstering the allegedly anti-democratic right. We've already seen the problem with that claim. Moreover, Somin correctly points out that much of the libertarian critique of democracy stems from other concerns, such as the Hayekian knowledge problem and public choice incentive problem. That's true, but property rights remain a major objection to majority rule. What's attractive about a system that permits a majority of voters to take someone's justly acquired belongings or to anoint politicians who promise to do so? (Among the better motivations for the U.S. Constitution was the concern that unrestrained state legislatures could confiscate people's land.)

Property, knowledge, and incentives aside, we have grounds to question the legitimacy of democracy the moment we encounter Frédéric Bastiat's insight that no group can have rights that are not possessed by the individual members. Since that is the case, no majority may impose anything on others that individuals may not impose on them. If that invalidates taxation and the state, so be it. Of course, this insight also invalidates the authoritarianism that the right wing seems more and more disposed to favor.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

Photo Credit: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom

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  • buybuydandavis||

    Principled judicial activism is the maxim that judges should refuse to defer to the people's legislatures when freedom is at stake. It is otherwise known as the presumption of liberty.

    So, like Progressives, the Progressitarians believe in "judicial authoritarianism for us", it's just a different us.

    Libertarianism has nothing to offer populist authoritarians.

    Again like Progressives, Progressitarians do hate them the little people, preferring government of, by, and for the ruling class.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I see the words "individual" and "rights" are not in your vocabulary.

  • Peter Duncan||

    Well, because using the word "individual" would acknowledge the existence of the ultimate minority and "rights" are merely a fleeting murmuration of Starlings.

  • ||

    Not with that attitude.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I see the words "individual" and "rights" are not in your vocabulary.

    I see your lack of an argument is inducing hallucinations about my vocabulary through cognitive dissonance.

  • Mitsima||

    I'll see your hallucinations and call your cognitive dissonance - newspeak over a pair of doublethink. Suck it, slaver.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    You skimmed.

  • JoeBlow123||

    I like this article but it seems a bit too pie in the sky. Government is not going anywhere anytime soon.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Go away, you nasty populists! But donate to Reason as you're leaving.

  • ||

    I had answered you way back about those internment camps. Don't know if you saw it.

  • ||

    "More generally, progressives, such as those who dominate the Democrats today, have long favored anti-democratic entities like independent regulatory agencies, which have proliferated since before the Progressive Era. On the other hand, populists, in their anti-elitism, are more likely to prefer rule by elected assemblies to rule by unelected experts."

    Otter asks, 'what's the difference?' between progressives and populists regarding 'unelected experts'. As I understand it, one of the main tenets of progressivism going back to its roots is the acceptance of panels of unelected experts to exert influence and control. After the all, at stake is the 'greater good' and we can't let democracy give too much voice to them icky deplorables.

  • Eidde||

    "(Rush Limbaugh has long called himself the "doctor of democracy.")"

    That sounds a bit more ambiguous that Richman indicates. Let me look that up...

    From brainyquote: "I am the Doctor of Democracy. I am America's Truth Detector. And as the Doctor of Democracy, the deal you have with your doctor isn't changing. You get to keep your doctor. You get to keep your plan. You get to keep your station. Nothing's changing, and it really never was gonna change."

    Hmmm...not a model of clarity. But he says "doctor" not "cheerleader." A doctor doesn't enthusiastically endorse whatever the patient does.

  • Robert||

    Good point. "Doctor of democracy" to me just indicates someone who doctors (i.e. influences) gov't policy, which in most of the world necessarily involves democracy to some degree. Democracy is always lurking no matter the form of gov't, because any regime that's unpopular enough will be deposed. So Limbaugh just means he's trying to be an opinion leader.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    Somebody tell me - if "democracy" is such a wonderful thing, how is it that "populism" is such a horrible thing? Seems to me one implies the other.

  • <Unpastable>||

    Democracy is when the people get to pick between two elite-approved candidates. Populism is when the people get to pick their own candidates.

  • mortiscrum||

    In the most literal sense, yes, though populism is usually synonymous with some pretty ugly, anti-intellectual and immoral things.

  • ipatrol||

    Populism is simply the generalized will of the majority of people. It is negative only to the degree that it is frequently misinformed, often by design.

  • Jay Dubya||

    The "generalized will" of the majority is oretty fkng nebukous. Richman addresses this briefly by noting the oublic choice theory problem of specisl interests. To the extent that such a thing exists & is expressed politically, it has always been misinformed & ugly.

  • DarrenM||

    "Cheerleader of Democracy" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

  • Eidde||

    Off the top of my head, Scalia has wanted to strike down the following democratically-adopted policies: Affirmative action, "rape shield" laws (confronting the person you're accusing is too traumatic, let's protect you from having to do that!), takings under the guise of regulation, Obamacare, censorship...really, that's enough counterexamples to make Richman question his premises.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Maybe he got Scalia confused with Roberts, who never met a penaltax he didn't like.

  • Eidde||

    The difference is that these policies are "in tension" (to use a favorite euphemism) with constitutional values, while the policies Dems want to strike down (except censorship of themselves) are generally unobjectionable except to activist judges.

    (acticism = changing the constitution by interpretation, not amendment)

  • Mickey Rat||

    I don't think Richman ever questions his premises after he has carefully prepared his strawmen.

  • Karen24||

    Rape shield laws don't protect the victim from the accused; they prohibit the criminal defense attorney from introducing evidence about the victims sexual experiences. Because males almost always think that a rape victim who has had sex with anyone else ever is not a credible victim. (And no, that is is not hyperbole. Men really do think women are either virgins or whores.)

  • Procyon Rotor||

    Misandrist bullshit. Men are no less capable of understanding consent than women. Rape shield laws have been used to exclude evidence that would have proven the accuser was perjuring herself. Excluded evidence is frequently relevant to determining the facts of a case, and to deny a defendant the right to present that evidence is a hideous abrogation of the rights of the accused.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "In contrast to conservatives, so-called liberal Democrats typically applaud court interference with legislatures, including Congress. (Remember, among others, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.)"

    Democrats tend to applaud whatever will put or keep their preferred policies in place. If the courts will support their policies over the legislatures they will applaud that, if the courts threaten their policies they will condemn the courts. They do not really espouse any set principle, so they usually never explain the what the difference is and the Richmans of the world do not hold their feet to the fire.

  • ||

    DemocratsRepublicans tend to applaud whatever will put or keep their preferred policies in place. If the courts will support their policies over the legislatures they will applaud that, if the courts threaten their policies they will condemn the courts. They do not really espouse any set principle, so they usually never explain the what the difference is and the RichmansMickey Rats of the world do not hold their feet to the fire.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Actually Republicans are a little more consistent about constitutional requirements than the Democrats are, they still have some capacity for shame.

  • ||

    "Actually Republicans are a little more consistent about constitutional requirements than the Democrats are"[citation needed]

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I think his state,net is rather obviously true. Of course, we're contrasting hardcore Marxist progressives against anyone else, so take it for what it's worth. Still, if I had to live with either progtards or authoritarian conservatives, it's not much of a contest. Conservatives are far more tolerable.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    -1 4th Amendment

  • Mickey Rat||

    The GOP are having a good deal of internal arguments about internal consistency of their arguments. This does not happen on the Democrat side,

  • Eidde||

    "Brown v. Board of Education"

    A quick check of Wikipedia confirms that, of the signatories of the anti-Brown "Southern Manifesto," 99 were Democrats and two were Republicans.

  • ipatrol||

    That was before the two parties flipped in 1968.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Still, it is conservatives who make opposition to the courts their signature issue—to the point of being willing to elect any Republican president on the grounds that judicial appointments matter above all else."

    The courts have been elevated to a super legislature where policy is actually made, or at least set in stone. See Gillespie's debate below over Net Neutrality, where his opponent expresses hope that the courts will overturn the expected FCC decision to rescind the 2015 Net Neutrality regulation regime.

  • Robert||

    That's the trouble. It's not just that judges will countermand statutes, but also that their decisions become unmoored from constitutional principles, so much so that the governed lose hope of determining how they're governed by either statutory or constitutional means. They cite provisions of constitutions that only Talmudic scholarship could read as saying what they claim them for, whether validating or invalidating statutes or other acts of gov't.

  • MikeP2||

    Almost without exception, Republican judicial nominees are more respectful of the constitution, liberty, and the role of the legislature than Democrat judicial nominees.
    Is that not obvious to this crowd, or is Reason still blinded by the tatters of social conservatism and the moral majority that largely faded from power decades ago.

    Almost all activist judges, who deem their opinion more valid than anything else, are Dem appointees.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I've yet to hear an advocate of the planned wall along the Mexican border demand that it be built without eminent domain."

    There's a difference between eminent domain and eminent domain abuse.

    If we were at war with Mexico, and the government needed to build a base in a specific place to defend against a foreign invasion, I suspect the government using eminent domain (and quickly paying the owners market prices) to accomplish that might be consistent with the military's legitimate purpose--defending our rights from foreign threats. Certainly, I wouldn't want the government to shirk its responsibility to protect our rights because eminent domain can never be appropriate.

    Immigration isn't like a foreign invasion in every way, but declaring war and setting the rules of naturalization are both enumerated powers of congress. If it were determined that enforcing the rules of naturalization in a way that fulfills the government's legitimate libertarian responsibility to protect our rights (from foreign threats such as known felons, etc.), then an honest person might conclude that the government invoking eminent domain for that purpose, so long as market rates were paid quickly, would not be entirely inappropriate.

    If there's any time when eminent domain is appropriate, it's when the property in question stands between the government and the government fulfilling its proper, constitutional role in protecting our rights.

  • Tony||

    Amazing how the phrase "proper, constitutional" justifies precisely whatever you want it to.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I didn't say it justified whatever I want to do.

    I said that IF IF IF there's any time when eminent domain is appropriate, it's when the property in question stands between the government and the government fulfilling its proper, constitutional role in protecting our rights.

    You do realize that other people can see what I wrote, too, right?

    Incidentally, due process doesn't justify whatever I want to do either, but if it's ever appropriate to lock up a murderer or a rapist in a cage for years at a time, it's only IF IF IF the accused is afforded due process and is only appropriate by way of the government fulfilling its proper, constitutional role in protecting our rights.

  • Greendogo||

    Eminent Domain is theft so it is immoral, no matter what the Constitution says. We need to fight the idea we can continue to ever justify it.

  • Sevo||

    ^+1
    Get over it and live with it.

  • BYODB||

    I, too, am against interstate freeways and railroads!

    ^_-

  • ipatrol||

    What rights are being endangered by a bunch of poor South Americans coming here to pick fruit in exchange for a wage? Do you really buy into the racist crap that they're raping our precious White women or something?

  • vek||

    Mostly it's the fact that it turns the country into a shit hole? My home state of California is now no longer part of the USA, it's a third world country. It has a few massive cities with a wealthy elite, and the rest of the state is filled with impoverished, uneducated people barely scraping by, many of whom don't even speak the language, and the overwhelming majority of which most definitely do not support any of the original tenets of this country. Like small government, personal freedom, right to bear arms, freedom of speech, etc.

    You can pretend all day long that open borders will give you a magical perfect world, but the truth is PEOPLE moving has consequences. These people have different views and cultural norms, and those views will move with them for better or worse. Given that America is the only country on earth where even a modicum of freedom exists, we're basically guaranteed to get people with views worse than your average native. I would include modern socialist Europeans in this as well BTW! When these people consistently vote for big government, disdain our cultural beliefs, show themselves to in fact be racist against the majority of the country they're moving into, weeeell the real world results are going to be different than you wanted. People aren't widgets moving across borders.

  • DarrenM||

    That two-letter word seems to trip up a lot of people.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Amazing how the phrase "proper, constitutional" justifies precisely whatever you want it to."

    No Tony, you're projecting again. Ken is very specific as to why it's constitutional. He is also correct.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    I think you mean Tony is projecting *still*, rather than *again*. *Again* implies that there was a point in time that he *stopped*.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "On the other hand, populists, in their anti-elitism, are more likely to prefer rule by elected assemblies to rule by unelected experts."

    If that is anti-elitist, then count me an anti-elitist of the Hayekian sort.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Populists are the democrats

    Rule of unelected, self selecting "experts" is the greatest threat to Western democracies
    And it is the goal of the Left

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Which is why I mentioned Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom" considered the rule of self-selecting elites was one of the biggest threats to liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    the squirrels are in a mood, apparently.

  • AlmightyJB||

    All hail our 9 Black Robed Gods.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Well, they WERE doomed to die, I guess.

  • Robert||

    My experience has been that many now in the USA who seem to constitute "populist authoritarianism" are much more libertarian than the avg. person, & not very authoritarian at all if given their choice. If you check into what they seem to be authoritarian about, & why, it seems they're resigned to trying to influence the existing degree of authoritarianism to bend it a bit their way, when what they'd really prefer is to be left alone. That is, they're not authoritarian by nature but only because it's the only straw they think they can grab for. Such people are much more easily identified on what's considered by avg. observers as the "right".

    By contrast, I've learned in recent decades just the opposite of those most easily identified as "left". That is, they've seemed more libertarian than they actually are.

    So what I'm seeing in the USA is that "right" is a fair approximation of "libertarian", while "left" is a fair one of "authoritarian". That wasn't the way it seemed to me decades ago, but experience has taught me the axes in the charts that represent liberty vs. authority 1 way & "left" vs. "right" the other way aren't as orthogonal as they were presumed to be half a century ago in classifying what real #s of people actually think. (Neither is the Nolan or WSPQ chart that useful in that regard either. Best are cluster analysis methods that let the groups emerge according to statistics w/o prejudice, as in the Times-Mirror-CBS-Pew typologies.)

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    I can confirm anecdotally that I've spoken to a number of southern evangelical fundamentalists over the years who were far more receptive to libertarian ideas than pretty much any "progressive" that I've spoken to. I think that's rooted in a evangelical Christians' grasping the idea that you can't "save" somebody against their will, which is not something that Progressives seem to have a good sense of. Outside of the abortion issue, the more authoritarian people I know are the more "socially liberal" ones by far.

  • <Unpastable>||

    To be fair, libertarian ideas are always popular to the side that doesn't control the government. Evangelicals haven't had real control of the government for a long, long time.

  • DarrenM||

    If the time ever comes when Evangelicals control the government and attempt to enforce some kind of authoritarian policy, that would be a good time to consider new allies. I doubt you need to worry much about that, though.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The line seems to run between what I'd call fundamentalists and what I'd call evangelicals.

    There's a lot in both the Old Testament and New Testament that's skeptical of government. There are passages in there about how you should obey the law--if you have to--but the kingdom of God is a heavenly kingdom, God's disappointment in Israel for wanting a king, one world government at the end of time, etc., etc. Fundamentalists tend to be highly critical of their own leadership for not holding fast to the text in the Bible, so they tend to view politics as inherently corrupt.

    The more evangelical types don't feel so bound to the letter of the Bible. They see themselves and government as the instruments of morality. I've pointed out things in the Bible to these types that contradict what they're doing or saying, and they'll say I'm taking the Bible too literally.

    Those more evangelical types are the dangerous ones. They can be made to support almost anything with total devotion so long as you can convince them it's what God wants them to do. Fundamentalists would listen to Jim Jones and say, "That's not in the Bible". "That's inconsistent with what Jesus said". Your average evangelical isn't likely to go off with Jim Jones either, but their politics aren't nailed to what it says in the Bible either. Using the government to force people to do what God wants isn't what Jesus was all about. To the contrary, . . .

  • Iheartskeet||

    ^^ This X 100

    I like to troll my libertarian friends by saying that Trump will be the most libertarian president we've had in the last 40 years. I suppose that only goes to show how low un-libertarian recent administrations have been (the bar is LOW LOW LOW), but on net I think it is a plausible argument.

  • Robert||

    So far Trump seems to be the most libertarian POTUS in my life, & I'm 63.

  • Tony||

    Is it the incompetence or the corruption?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Again, you're projecting. Now go drink your Drano.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Damn, how long will you fucking leech off society?

  • Iheartskeet||

    Did it go down with any other President ? Did you read my whole message ?

  • BYODB||

    I don't know, Ronald Reagan seems like he was more 'Libertarian' than Trump but maybe that's just me.

  • Iheartskeet||

    I probably should have said "last 30 years". Then the argument gets a bit stronger.

  • vek||

    In words or action? I thin Reagan talked the talk better, but in practice, if we had a congress with balls, Trump would be willing to sign hardcore libertarian leaning laws that Reagan wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole.

    Reagan was NOT very good in practice other than a few things. He mostly just talked a good game, and then didn't actually do most of what he talked about. Just like most other politicians. He was just a better talker than most, so he has the badass rep he does.

    I think Trump would sign off on eliminating 100% of saaay federal welfare programs if it dropped on his desk. Ron wouldn't. Same for other massive and sweeping stuff. Trump has many bad inclinations too, but I think he's kind of "Awww, fuck it. Let's just do this shit!" Instead of being a cautious pussy like most politicians.

  • Samshile||

    Because most of the "authoritarian type" assertions are sarcasm. A tight ass Libertarian is a bore

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    My experience has been that many now in the USA who seem to constitute "populist authoritarianism" are much more libertarian than the avg. person, & not very authoritarian at all if given their choice.

    No, that is your wet dream. The populist authoritarian wants a return to an era where white, land-owning, slave-banging men have their privilege restored.

    May you die choking on someone's else vomit, sir—I mean, asshole!

  • Lester224||

    Many of the "populists" who voted for Trump are rabidly in favor of protectionism, tariffs and trade wars. They are also in favor of government subsidies of whatever their favorite industry is (coal for example). Not exactly libertarian.

    The most "populist" idea that Trump pretended to be in favor of was infrastructure spending. No chance of that happening.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Principled judicial activism is the maxim that judges should refuse to defer to the people's legislatures when freedom is at stake. It is otherwise known as the presumption of liberty.
    '
    Perhaps one would not have an objection to that if that was the principle the courts were actually overturning legislation on.

  • BYODB||

    ^ Pretty much this.

    The Supreme Court is intended to protect against democracy by overturning legislation that's against the plain language of the Constitution. After the Progressive Era, including Wilson and FDR, it became something very different.

    Most don't realize this because it's been almost a hundred years of something entirely different. That's a long, long time to not have a check on legislative over-reach, and it shows.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "... I do not deny the authoritarian element on the right, which Trump has brought to the forefront."

    While the actual policies Trump has been implementing tend to decentralize authority away from the Presidency in a way Democrats hate and more mainstream Republicans have not been comfortable with actually doing the past decade or so.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In regards to the question of whether the left or right can use property or libertarian arguments to their benefit, Richman is correct in saying that the right tends to respect property as a matter of convenience. However, the progressive stance to property rights and all individual rights is almost entirely hostile. The question isn't whether the right is as principled on the matter as libertarians. The question is whether the progressive left is fundamentally opposed to property rights and individual rights on principle.

    I maintain two arguments.

    1) Progressivism is the belief that the coercive power of government should be used to force individuals to make sacrifices for what they see as the common good.

    2) Individual rights are choices*.

    Put those two together, and we see that progressives are fundamentally opposed to people making choices that they don't like. This extends to property, of course. *Property rights are the right to choose who uses something, how it's used, etc. It also extends to rights/choices like freedom of association, freedom of speech vs. hate speech, etc., etc.

  • buybuydandavis||

    1) = Progressive Theocracy

    Government should force us to "Do Good" is theocracy.

    The genius of the Declaration of Independence was identifying the just power of government as enforcing rights, not doing good.

    Freedom exists to the extent you are not forced to do good.

  • BYODB||

    There's a quote from C.S. Lewis that drives straight at the heart of my problem with Progressives (And yes, I know that I post this quite often):


    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."

    ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

  • Ken Shultz||

    So, the question of whether the left or right can use libertarian ideas of property rights to advance their cause is probably looking at the issue backwards. The question should be whether the left or right is fundamentally opposed to libertarian ideas like property rights and individual rights, and the correct answer is that the progressive left is fundamentally opposed to all forms of individual rights.

    If that's the case, it shouldn't be surprising to find that the right is able to exploit libertarian ideas better than the left. After all, the right may be indifferent to our principles, but the left is fundamentally opposed to them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I've yet to hear an advocate of the planned wall along the Mexican border demand that it be built without eminent domain."

    Has anyone heard a progressive oppose the planned wall on the Mexican border on the basis of eminent domain abuse?

  • ||

    Richman doesn't think that progressives don't have any problems with eminent domain (in fact he has pretty much always identified them as opposed to property rights), his point is that libertarians do.

  • ||

    On second thought, rather than "opposed to property rights" I should have written "hostile to the property rights of others".

  • Ken Shultz||

    I was using that question to demonstrate my point.

    I haven't seen any progressives cite eminent domain abuse as a reason to oppose building a wall along the Mexican border.

    I suspect eminent domain abuse is only a problem to progressives when it adversely impacts one of their favorite group identities. In other words, I don't think they have much of a problem with using the coercive power of government to seize property from individuals for the common good.

    They aren't opposed to using the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices for the common good. In fact, using the coercive power of government for such things is what being a progressive is all about.

  • ||

    Ken, I don't remember you being this dense before.

  • ||

    Part of my problem is that you are complaining about "progressives", Sheldon Richman is not a "progressive" within any definition in current American politics, neither is he making a "progressive" argument in this article.

  • ||

    "Progressives" are not the only people arguing against "the wall" just as "progressives" are not the only people arguing against the Keystone pipeline. Some of the people arguing about Keystone are simply worried about losing control of their property and/or being in danger of suffering damages without recourse to proper compensation for losses suffered if the pipeline is beached etc.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't think you've read the article or understand its subject.

    I didn't say that only progressives were against the wall. Why would I say that?

    I said that I'm not aware of any progressives who have opposed the wall because they are fundamentally opposed to eminent domain. I suspect the reason for that is because eminent domain is not inconsistent with progressives dogma. In fact, using the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices (of the property rights among other things) for what progressives see as the common good--is my very best definition of progressivism. Progressives don't object to using government force to violate people's rights. They advocate it!

    Eminent domain is just one example--one that Richman used to illustrate the point. It could have been others. Do progressives have fundamental objections to using government force to make people bake cakes for gay weddings because of their ideology? The correct answer is no. Do progressives have fundamental objections tied to their ideology to using government to force nuns to buy birth control for their employees? The correct answer is no. Using the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices for their vision of the common good is what being progressive is all about--whether we're talking about gun rights or eminent domain.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If the right successfully uses libertarian ideas of property rights to their advantage, maybe it's because, unlike the progressives, the right's ideology is indifferent to libertarian ideas where progressive ideology isn't indifferent. Rather, progressive ideology is fundamentally hostile to individual rights.

    Is any of this getting through?

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    No, you moron. The right is about establishing feudalism.

  • DesigNate||

    Are you serious?

  • ipatrol||

    There are a fair number on the progressive side who are opposed to the post Kelo v. New London form of seizure of the property of homeowners to benefit big private developers under the banner of increasing the tax base of municipalities.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You write this and claim I'm being dense?

    The article is about whether property rights makes us especially vulnerable to accusations of being complicit with the right or left.

    Did you read the article?

    "More generally, progressives, such as those who dominate the Democrats today, have long favored anti-democratic entities like independent regulatory agencies, which have proliferated since before the Progressive Era. On the other hand, populists, in their anti-elitism, are more likely to prefer rule by elected assemblies to rule by unelected experts.

    Moving on, we must consider whether radical libertarianism provides ammunition to conservatives. Somin notes that the libertarian insistence on robust property rights cannot have emboldened the right because the right has become increasingly less interested in property rights. Oh sure, conservatives may invoke property when it lines up with their prejudices, but they are more than happy to jettison it in other issues close to their hearts. I've yet to hear an advocate of the planned wall along the Mexican border demand that it be built without eminent domain."

    When I was talking about progressives, I wasn't talking about Richman.

    When Richman was talking about progressives, he wasn't talking about Richman either.

    If you read the article, why would you think I was talking about Richman when I was talking about progressives?

    Jesus.

  • GlenchristLaw||

    I never see these discussions going anywhere useful.

    I prefer a more aloof, K.I.S.S. approach:

    --To call yourself a "conservative" implies that you seek to conserve something. What, EXACTLY, do you seek to "conserve"?

    --To call yourself a "progressive" implies that you seek to progress toward something. What, EXACTLY, do you see as "progress"?

    The tools you use (e.g., judicial activism, vulgar majoritarianism) are not the point. The goals you seek are what matters.

    Tell me your GOALS ... or STFU.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Progressive, as it was understood in the Teddy Rosevelt era, was "progress" toward the total state.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Goals: Embracing fairness, and fucking quality.

    What is fairness? Womb lottery declared as null and void.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    But the only way to prevent children from certain households from having any disproportionate socio-economic advantage is to completely eliminate economic class and, thus, private property.

    The question, therefore, becomes: are you stupid enough to not know that? Or are you so blinded by class hatred that you do know that, and what it leads to, and just don't care about the consequences?

  • GILMORE™||

    Nobody labels themselves a "populist authoritarian". Libertarianism offers liberty to everyone. Pretending its an exclusive club is pure idiocy.

    its a meaningless shibboleth

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    As if people label themselves pejoratively.

    You are a moron

  • Tony||

    Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant?

    One doesn't want anarchy dear boy. Dragging [brown] people to other countries against their will is totally acceptable within the framework of freedom maximalism.

  • ||

    Fine Tony but answer this, "Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to anybody?"

    When you can answer, "You don't", you are on your way to becoming a libertarian.

  • Greendogo||

    Pretty sure he's being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Yes, he is. But to whom is he addressing his sarcastic question? I cannot be to Richman since he (Richman) has made it plain about where his sympathies lie.

  • Sevo||

    "Pretty sure he's being sarcastic."

    He's also being stupid; i.e., being Tony.
    It's not like he has the capability of being otherwise.

  • ||

    One doesn't want anarchy dear boy.


    Actually, Richman does want anarchy, he is after all a libertarian of the anarcho-capitalist persuasion.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Then why is he on the board or C4SS (Center for a Stateless Society)? They are pretty far from capitalist in any way shape or form.

  • sarcasmic||

    Anarchy is an-archon, right? With an means "no", and archon means "lord" or "ruler".

    That doesn't mean no rules. It means no central organization defining the rules and enforcing them with violence.

    Works like a charm most of the time anyway.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    ""Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant?"

    One doesn't want anarchy dear boy. Dragging [brown] people to other countries against their will is totally acceptable within the framework of freedom maximalism."

    Funny, you never have a problem with anyone ever needing permission from government for just about anything else, ever. So your point is completely disingenuous.

    Which is typical of you.

  • IceTrey||

    Initiating force is not acceptable in libertarianism.

  • MarkLastname||

    If someone is doing forcing someone to do something ***against their will***, the it's not freedom maximalism.

    I know I say this a lot, but Christ you're such a moron. I've never seen someone struggle so hard to string a sentence together that doesn't flatly contradict itself.

  • <Unpastable>||

    Except Arabs, Turks, and Persians are racially white.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Populist libertarians offer nothing that libertarians might want. They've no home planet, no influence, nothing! They're just a pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking about the galaxy in an ancient space ship!


    Always wanted to say that.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    And I blew it. Meant to say populist authoritarians. Darnit.

  • Greendogo||

    It's even more cutting the way you said it. Good mistake.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Libertarians are basically Republicans out of favor with the establishment.

    No need to say that, really. Everyone knows it

  • DesigNate||

    Only complete fucking morons "know" that. So cheer up bucko, you're in good company with Tony, AmSoc, and shriek.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "There's an unappreciated connection among democracy, populism, and authoritarianism"

    Namely that they are synonyms.

  • IceTrey||

    All problems with the government come from it initiating force. Simply restricting government authority to the retaliatory use of force will solve them.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    You must be a complete moron. How much did you give the Koch-funded reason.com this year?

  • IceTrey||

    Not wanting the government to violate individual negative liberty is moronic? You WANT to be a slave?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    No, no, no, no, no. You've got it all wrong!! Sevo is my bitch doesn't want to be a slave, he/she/it wants YOU to be his/her/its slave!

    All these armchair social engineers are just SURE that, come the revolution, it's THEIR vision of the future that will be implemented, TRUE COMMUNISM will arise, and all will be well. It didn't work before, because, of course, THEY weren't around, and THEIR input wasn't considered. Now that that's been rectified, ... UTOPIA!!!

  • <Unpastable>||

    Govt has to be able to initiate force (or the threat thereof) to fund itself.

  • IceTrey||

    If it is restricted to the retaliatory use of force it would be so small non coercive means of funding would suffice. Say a 1% fee on contracts which the parties wish to have enforced by said government.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    At that point, why not just privatize the whole shebang, open it up to competition and be done with it?

  • JuanQPublic||

    Excellent, thought-provoking article.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    > neither has been influenced by the libertarian critique of democracy.

    On the contrary, the "alt-right" contains many, many libertarians, and is primarily opposed to democracy because they don't like Western Values being voted away. That's also why they oppose immigration - they believe, and not entirely without reason - that the brown people coming here will vote against Western Values. (see Lauren Southern, Hans-Hermann Hoppe)

    They oppose immigration, when they should be opposing Democracy. 3 wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner, Or, as HL Mencken put it, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Mencken put it in your mom

  • DarrenM||

    So, are you taking your sister to the prom this year?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Mencken put it anywhere he could, especially my mom.

  • MikeP2||

    utter BS. the "alt-right" does not oppose immigration. They oppose 'illegal immigration'. The absence of that critical word makes all the difference as there is a very real and valid concern that progressives are using open borders and illegal immigrant 'dumping' to reshape the electorate. If progressives really cared about immigration and immigrants, they would have reformed the process or pushed an amnesty. But no, it serves their purposes to use them as societal levers, regardless of the hardships and hurdles they face because of it.

  • Kivlor||

    No, the alt-right is opposed in general to immigration. You're talking about regular establishment Republicans and part of the alt-lite.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Agreed, Breitbart has many articles on H1-B "abuse" and strongly implies that furrrnrrrs "tuk rrrr jrrbbs!!!"

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Odd how the alt-right's president is determined to cut down *legal* immigration and *legal* asylum for refugees. With their loud support.

    If it were the legality of the immigration alone that concerned them, "open borders" would be a great way to ensure no one immigrated "illegally" ever again.

    And if you/they are really so worried about "voter importation", then maybe you should expend less energy on keeping or driving them out- which is going to backfire on you anyway in 3 or 7 years when a Democrat takes office and immigration is opened up in spite of you- and instead consider trying to get in on the action. You do realize that most Chinese immigrants are self-selecting as wanting to escape communism? That most Hispanic immigrants are devoutly Christian family-values types? That significant percentages of both those groups already vote Republican? The Rightist presumption that immigrants are a "lost cause" smacks of doubt in their own ideals' persuasiveness- or else just ethnic prejudice.

    Not that a libertarian should care anyway. The idea that the theocratic, ethno-nationalist, police-statist GOP is the "party of small government" is one held by GOPers alone.

  • JuanQPublic||

    utter BS. the "alt-right" does not oppose immigration. They oppose 'illegal immigration'.

    First off, you need to explain what "alt right" refers to. If you are referring to the nationalist bloc in the US, they are certainly opposed to most immigration: legal or not. This is an uncontroversial observation, and nationalists are rather open about expressing this view. They view immigration as a threat that leaves citizens behind, and frame it in economic terms to attempt to make it palatable for the masses.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    "Still, it is conservatives who make opposition to the courts their signature issue—to the point of being willing to elect any Republican president on the grounds that judicial appointments matter above all else."

    I heard a whole lot of liberals making the exact same argument: that other liberals should elect any Democrat president on the grounds that judicial appointments matter above all else.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Yeah, like Rand Paul: http://bit.ly/2Aobszd

  • <Unpastable>||

    This is the same mess that led to direct election of senators (which contrary to libertarian narrative, was ratified by the legislatures -- a voluntary yielding of power). Voters in state legislature elections were voting based on who the candidate would vote for for the Senate, and local issues were getting short shrift.

    So I think the time has come for court justices to be directly elected.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Don't be fucking coy, assholes.

    Here, defend this asshole: http://bit.ly/2Aobszd

  • DesigNate||

    Where's the problem in that article?

  • Bubba Jones||

    What is the problem?

  • Kivlor||

    Oh sweet Jesus! How ever will someone defend the notion that Legislators should have to read the legislation they are about to vote on, prior to voting for it?! The horror!

  • Bubba Jones||

    White supremacists don't see themselves as wanting to impose power. They see themselves as victims of a corrupt government or a Jewish conspiracy. Libertarianism offers them an escape.

  • EscherEnigma||

    If Richman is "mystified" with how people say Libertarians/libertarians support right-wingers, then he hasn't been paying attention. It really doesn't have anything to do with principled arguments, theory of governance or anything "thinky" like that.

    It's 100% to do with how libertarians/Libertarians vote and who you support

    So something-something, revealed preferences vs. stated preferences, something-something.

  • IceTrey||

    If you vote you are not a libertarian.

  • Hank Phillips||

    If you don't vote, you are not smart enough to be libertarian and repeal rights-destroying laws.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Voting is merely a weak form of self defense.

  • Pyrrho21C||

    We must remind ourselves that nearly all democracies are oligarchies; minorities can be organized for action and power, majorities cannot.
    - Will & Ariel Durant

  • Freedum_Fried||

    "we have grounds to question the legitimacy of democracy the moment we encounter Frédéric Bastiat's insight that no group can have rights that are not possessed by the individual members."

    Gee, like tribal water rights possessed by Indian tribes, which may be allotted to non-Indians and not allotted to tribal members? I guess they don't exist per Bastiat's insight.

    The reality is that government, in the best case, is a gang with good manners. You pay your protection money, just because, and you root for your gang when the other gang comes around. And woe betide you if there is a hostile take over of your gang, you might find yourself walking a trail of tears. These are problems that libertarian ideology can't fix or wish away. Aggression works. In fact, aggression is typically at the heart of early state formation.

  • IceTrey||

    Aggresion works? Tell it to the Nazis.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    It did, for quite a while. Until their gang leader got hopped up on meth.

  • Hank Phillips||

    You can't can peas without a can either. But when the price of steel is high, you can set up a simple math problem to minimize the amount of steel per volume of peas. When I first encountered the LP in 1980, it took awhile for this to sink in. To libertarians, they explained, the initiation of force is like the price of steel. Their efforts set up equations and logical solutions that minimize the initiation of force. As the initiation of force approaches zero, freedom (by definition) is increased and, consequently, wealth and life-worth-living multiply apace. Now that the LP wields as many votes as Virginia, looters are confronted with pawn power on the chessboard in the form of LP spoiler votes. They have to repeal bad laws in order to keep the other looter party from snatching away their boodle and commandeering their armed goons. That's reality.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Sheldon does not distinguish laws that destroy individual rights the way a lynch mob operates. Calling mystical bigots "conservatives" is another blinker that narrows vision and cuts off context. Nixon´s Italian fascism ran aground on the nascent Libertarian Party. As Tricky manipulated the tax code to pay the media to ignore the LP, a large fraction of Ku-klux Christendom jumped ship and voted for George Wallace, the intellectual predecessor of Roy Moore. But that one electoral vote for the pro-choice LP ticket stampeded La Suprema into striking down ku-klux coathanger abortion laws to save their G.O.P.. Nixonites then absorbed the Dixiecrat agenda and amid the smoke from bombing Asians on the other side of the planet, the Dems saw little choice but to join the communists. Libertarian spoiler votes are reversing those rights-destroying trends the way George Wallace spoiler votes in 1969, and Populist spoiler votes in 1892 set them in motion in the first place.

  • SC Striebeck||

    Libertarianism has nothing to offer populist authoritarians... that means neither to the Republicans nor Democratic Parties - and for that matter the Libertarian Party.


    Libertarianism ...that is with a small "l"... is apolitical in the sense that it doesn't fall on the typical right-left continium.


    It is anti-authoritarian in every regard which means it is anti-government, but not anti-governance - BIG difference between the two.


    All human action is gauged against the interconnected concepts of self-ownership, property rights, contract law framed by the Non-Agression Principle - they apply equally literally to all.


    So, don't expect any meaningful increase in justice ...social or otherwise... until a critical mass of persons better understand these principles and are willing apply them against the will of government - we can be sure that until then, not only will it not yield power easily, it will continue to grow as a societal cancer; and, that we'll continue to hopelessly argue about the straw differences between political parties.


    To make a difference: read your Rothbard; then think, decide and act.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The right-left labeling evasion is a useful indicator of low IQ. It is a euphemistic evasion illustrating the difference between pre-1917 Christian socialists (prohibitionist Altrurian communists) and post-1920 National Socialists and Soviet Socialists. The concept only discusses totalitarians.

  • Mark22||

    Libertarianism Has Nothing to Offer Populist Authoritarians

    Well, that's OK: Sheldon Richman has nothing to offer to Libertarians either.

  • HenryC||

    Property rights are the basis of all rights. If you can't own the food and shelter necessary to life, others control you and you have no rights.

  • Nuwanda||

    Property rights also don't figure in their enthusiasm for cracking down on immigration, legal and illegal. (Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant?)

    Nice try, conflating legal and illegal immigration status. A lot of folks are quick enough to spot that kinda dumb tactic, and so distance themselves from modern libertarianism which has defined itself in terms of open borders.

    So let's clear it up.

    You don't need permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant. But if a person has entered the country illegally, your dealings with them will be compromised due to the fact they have no right to be in country in the first place.

    See how simple it is when you don't try to fudge legal and illegal?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    You have no right to say who should or should not be in the country, because it a conglomeration of private properties, not a collective property.

    See how simple it is when you realize that you do not, in fact, have any right to my privately-owned land, business or affairs whatsoever?

  • Nuwanda||

    Who said I have any right to your "...privately-owned land, business or affairs whatsoever"? You seem to be imagining things.

    The border is NOT private property. The border is the demarcation line between the private property in one country and whatever exists in another country. And the state certainly has the authority to determine who crosses that border, in the same way as it has the power to determine and act against threats to the country's borders using the military. Or should other countries be allowed to lob ordnance into your backyard with impunity since it's only impacting your private property?

    Once a person is legally across the border, who gives a damn what you and they do? I certainly don't, and neither should the state.

    Of course all of this is moot if you're an anarchist. Hopefully you are honest enough to admit to being such. I find many of them are a little backward at coming forward.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    If you deny me the right to bring any consenting, non-violent person I wish onto my property, you are violating my property rights. You don't have the right to bar me from bringing a friend or employee onto my property from a neighbor's property, or from another city or state; the difference between that and a foreigner is not one you have any business in, so long as they do not trespass on yours (and if they do, I'll lend you my AR-15 to deal with them for free).

    The state has NO rightful authority to determine who may be brought onto private property in the country, because America is NOT COLLECTIVELY OWNED. Feel free to re-read that if it didn't get through the first time. You have the right to demand taxes to fund the public roads that immigrants use to travel to said private properties, and that's it. And said road taxes would be a lot easier to collect if immigrants didn't already have good reason to avoid the police.

    That is not an "anarchist" thing to say, any more than saying the state should butt out of free speech, gun ownership or drug use is "anarchist". Anarchism is wanting no state. I want the state to *defend* my property rights, rather than violate them in line with the will of the tribalist mob. That is not "anarchism"; that is MINARCHISM. AKA "libertarianism".

  • Nuwanda||

    Right to demand taxes for public roads? Goodness, you're not much of a minarchist. Those roads should all be private. Yet you say fund the roads at the point of a gun but let anyone across the border with nary a question.

    You're a mess of contradictions. I have no right to ask my government to vet those who wish to cross the border, but that same government has the power to tax me to pay for the roads illegal immigrants will use to travel to your private property?

    Try again idiot.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    For someone playing fast and loose with the word "idiot", you have a remarkable talent for misunderstanding what others are saying. I'll try talking slower this time:

    I was NOT saying government has the right to tax YOU for the immigrant's use of the roads.

    I was saying government has the right to tax THE IMMIGRANT for *his* use of the public roads, *FOR HOWEVER LONG the government provides said roads*.

    My point was that you have the right to complain if government is taxing you to pay for roads that immigrants use. It was *not* that you should be forced to subsidize the immigrants' use of them. That was, in fact, *literally the exact opposite of my point*.

    Nor was it that you should have to pay for those roads in general. Ideally roads should be privately owned and operated, absolutely. But they aren't right now. And that isn't changing any time soon. So I was saying that immigrants should have to pay for their own usage. Which is currently in the form of a tax of some sort. Which would be easier to collect if the immigrant weren't already hiding from the government.

    I really didn't think it was that unclear.

  • Mark22||

    The US government takes enough money from me every year to pay for the social welfare of a dozen people. By force. I make no apologies for using the political process to restrict immigration. That's the deal in our non-libertarian system of government. I see no contradiction to libertarian principles.

    Stop taxing me and I'll be happy to let you hire anybody you like.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    But the 100 billion dollars needed for the wall, guards, drones, dogs, vehicles, and administrative leviathan that will keep them out- you're perfectly fine with being robbed of that? And requiring me to be robbed of that too, to pay for the police state violating my rights?

    This is akin to the argument that gun violence and drunk driving accidents cost taxpayer dollars in emergency service response, so we have the right to regulate those too: even if government regulation actually COULD save the taxpayers money, it doesn't change the fact that a second violation of the NAP is never an acceptable solution to an initial violation.

  • Mark22||

    Why do I need government permission to hire, sell to, or rent to an immigrant?

    Because the same government will send armed goons to my house to extract the money necessary to provide infrastructure, insurance, and services to the immigrants that you derive economic benefits from.

    That is, "hiring, selling to, or renting to an 'immigrant'" isn't a voluntary transaction between two parties in the US, it's a voluntary transaction between two parties and an involuntary transaction you impose on millions of tax payers.

    Oh, and you are a jerk for conflating "immigrants" and people illegally present in the country.

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