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Free Minds & Free Markets

Should Libertarians Vote For Trump? Nick Gillespie vs. Walter Block

The Loyola University economist calls Reason.com's editor-in-chief a "vile" and "nasty man."

Reason's Nick Gillespie and libertarian economist Walter Block had a raucous debate in New York City last night over whether libertarians should vote for Donald Trump. It was hosted by the SoHo Forum and moderated by Gene Epstein, who's the economics and book review editor at Barron's (and also happens to be my father). Audience members voted their positions at the outset and conclusion of the debate, and Block, who was arguing in favor of Trump, prevailed by convincing more audience members to come over to his side.

The debate turned nasty almost immediately, with Block refusing to shake Nick's hand, referring to him as "Dr. Gillespie," and at one point calling him "vile" and a "nasty man." Block attributes his hostility to a blog post Nick wrote about a 2014 New York Times article, in which Block was quoted as saying that slavery was "not so bad." After the article appeared, Block filed a lawsuit against the Times for misrepresenting his views. Nick's post, which was critical of the Times article for a different reason, included a block quote from the piece with one of the sentences about Block.

At another point in the debate, Block criticized Reason's brand of libertarianism (jump to about 55:30):

What these scoundrels do, and I include Dr. Gillespie here, is try to hijack libertarianism away from the "thin" libertarianism by adding all sorts of other irelevancies. Like, say, mixed marriages. Somehow mixed marriages are libertarian because in addition to the non-aggression principle, you can't look down on other races, you can't be hateful. That's got nothing to do with libertarianism. Now these guys are left-wing "thick" libertarians, but there are right-wing "thick" libertarians too.

Listen to the debate here, or better yet subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.

For more on the monthly debates hosted by the SoHo Forum, visit the website. Next month's features Richard Epstein of NYU Law vs. Cato's Chris Preble on foreign policy.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Only if they want to stop being losers and start being winners.

  • american socialist||

    Only if they want to start voting for principals and not principles.

  • Citizen X||

    What do you know about principles?

  • american socialist||

    You mean not voting for the right-wing blowhard because he's an arrogant narcissist who will fuck things up isn't a principle? What kind of libertarian votes for Trump? I thought your revolutionary system of government was so self-evidently superior to social democratic pluralism that people would flock to it. Yet here you are wallowing around with Trump and his band of idiots and racists. Sad.

  • Citizen X||

    I'm not talking about this particular instance, you goon. I mean in general. What do you know about principles? You're the guy who brags about defaulting on his mortgage and wants to see the United States collapse by any means, up to and including nuclear war.

    Also, your mindreading abilities are as much a failure as your moral compass. I'm not voting for Trump. I can't argue on behalf of self-described libertarians who are. Fuck along, now.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    Since you're a socialist voting I'd figure you'd be down with voting for arrogant narcissists.

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    I thought

    Nope. But, let's continue on.

    your revolutionary system of government was so self-evidently superior to social democratic pluralism that people would flock to it

    Not sure where you got this litmus test, but maybe someone around here has espoused something similar to it.

    Of course, leave it to collectivist thief to think that numbers = rightness/righteousness.

  • american socialist||

    "Not sure where you got this litmus test, but maybe someone around here has espoused something similar to it."

    ...the point being, if libertarianism is so great why the fuck would libertarians associate with an autocratic-wannabe like Trump?

  • american socialist||

    "Of course, leave it to collectivist thief to think that numbers = rightness/righteousness."

    I'm a socialist. My favorite politician is Norman Thomas. I'm going to vote for Jill Stein. You know how many socialist, Norman Thomas' loving Jill Stein supporters there are? Not many. Surely, I can't be accused of making arguments on the basis of vox populi?

  • Nikkodemus||

    American Socialist...

    Am Soc...

    Sock

    Ohhhhhh NOW I get it!

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    Surely, I can't be accused of making arguments on the basis of vox populi?


    people would flock to it

    Paging Bob Belcher...

    The whole " if it was so good, where are the numbers" is a straw man of your own creation, as far as I can tell. Is there someone around here that made the argument of, "If we can just get out message out, people will obviously flock to us"? Most around here talk of changing peoples' political perspectives, but we're individualists, who deal with individuals.

  • Free Society||

    social democratic pluralism

    uhhhh wut?

  • ||

    Don't worry when Hillary wins its over for small government. Once amnesty goes through its over politically. Conservatism dead. Libertarianism dead.
    Do I need to source PEW on hispanic opinions about government.
    A lot of libertarians vote for Trump, those who are looking to the long term. A one time stand that will 100% lose and in turn make government much larger in the long term is such a wise decision(not). Most libertarians left this rag called reason a while back. Word is Reason and Heat Street don't want your articles if they are anti-clinton, only anti trump.
    Weld confirms what we already knew.

  • Entelechy||

    What has the Republic done to deserve a choice between PC Principal , Principal Victoria, and Groundskeeper Willie?

  • robc||

    No.

  • LynchPin1477||

    referring to him as "Dr. Gillespie"

    The ultimate insult.

  • Number 2||

    That Nick looks like Lionel Barrymore?

    http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.....Gillespie/

  • ||

    Why the heck is Block so pissed at Nick over that article? Block isn't even mentioned by name in it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It certainly casts the Gillespie-haters in the commentariat in a new light though.

  • Citizen X||

    Walter Block has been Tulpa all along?!?

  • GILMORE™||

    It certainly casts the Gillespie-haters in the commentariat in a new light though.

    What new light is that?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Well I mean I can see why people who approach freedom through the incredibly narrow lens of political liberty would take exception to Nick's whole Libertarian Moment thing. If the only thing you can see is the swelling brown tide of authoritarian laws, regulations, and politics, I imagine it would get quite irritating to hear some dope-smoking atheist hippie talking about how people ignore the government and improve their lives through social, cultural, and technological innovation.

  • GILMORE™||

    the incredibly narrow lens of political liberty

    So narrow you could slip a country through it?

    If the only thing you can see is the swelling brown tide of authoritarian laws, regulations, and politics, I imagine it would get quite irritating to hear some dope-smoking atheist hippie talking about how people ignore the government and improve their lives through social, cultural, and technological innovation.

    I'm still missing what part you think is "new"?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I guess I just didn't take seriously the idea that people really think that way. That kind of strong narrow focus on a small part of life that they have zero control over must be very distressing. No wonder they're such twisted, humorless gargoyles.

  • R C Dean||

    Of course, libertarianism is about political liberty, so claiming that there is less of that, but we are nonetheless in a libertarian moment is a bit of a non sequitur.

  • tarran||

    Because the quote about slavery being not so bad is Walter Block's.

    I heard that lecture, and Block was being sarcastic (your can hear it in his tone) when he said "slavery isn't so bad". He pointed out that on paper slaves got to do simple work in the outdoors and received free room and board. He then goes on to point out that it's the coersive nature of the work that makes it bad. If someone chooses to work under those conditions despite the fact that they can leave, we know they think it's good. It's when someone wants to go away and we force them to stay, it's bad.

    It's pretty much standard Blockian humor. Other notable examples, when he called Mother Theresa a good friend of Hitler (because on some flawed political scale they appeared together), all of Defending the Indefensible

    Instead of Gillespie rebutting the smear, he chose to make it sound like Block was some racist apologist for slavery.

    I don't think Block should take it as personally as he did, but after his shabby treatment during the time when the progressive media stack was laying the ground work for an Anti Paul propaganda campaign, I can understand why he is bitter at the "allies" who helped stick a knife in his back.

  • LynchPin1477||

    He then goes on to point out that it's the coersive nature of the work that makes it bad

    But isn't that the defining feature of slavery? I'm just having a hard time understanding where the sarcasm was, or how the comment related to the point he was trying to make.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "You know the worst thing about slavery? They make you work, but they don't pay you or let you go."

  • tarran||

    But isn't that the defining feature of slavery?

    Exactly! The people who apologize and defend slavery say that it wasn't so bad. He was repeating their arguments sarcastically before sticking a knife in its jugular.

  • Calidissident||

    The quote was a small part of the passage Gillespie quoted, and wasn't really relevant to the main point of the article, which was about Rand Paul.

    "He pointed out that on paper slaves got to do simple work in the outdoors and received free room and board. He then goes on to point out that it's the coersive nature of the work that makes it bad. If someone chooses to work under those conditions despite the fact that they can leave, we know they think it's good. It's when someone wants to go away and we force them to stay, it's bad."

    That's not exactly a robust depiction of slavery. Block's analysis of it is overly focused on the labor aspect of the relationship. I don't think anyone's ever argued that someone picking cotton voluntarily is a bad thing, though it's not necessarily an easy job. Accepting that slavery wasn't so bad aside from being compulsory because you got to pick cotton, sing songs, and get "nice free gruel" is just a terrible characterization of the situation. Even if it was just a sarcastic ploy, it's not a well-presented argument and he doesn't really justify his assertions (I've read the full passage).

    Statements like this ("slavery wasn't so bad, they got free food and shelter, etc.") are commonly repeated by Lost Cause apologists to downplay how bad it was. Arguing that it was still bad even if they were hypothetically treated well is different from accepting the premise that it wasn't so bad aside from not being able to quit.

  • tarran||

    Arguing that it was still bad even if they were hypothetically treated well is different from accepting the premise that it wasn't so bad aside from not being able to quit.

    Well, you'll be pleased to know that he was arguing the first point and not the second in the lecture. In fact, the whole lecture was on the subject of how to analyze social problems from a libertarian position - i.e. freedom of speech/freedom to contract/freedom of association/property rights.

    It wasn't a lecture on slavery. It was a lecture giving a whirlwind overview of libertarianism.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm not even going off his quote in the interview (which I have not watched). I'm going off of his quote in the below article, which was unrelated but later linked by him to explain his position in the interview. I don't get a sarcastic vibe from the words. If he really is just making a hypothetical argument, I don't see why you wouldn't just state that instead of outright writing "Otherwise, slavery wasn't so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. " That is stated as historical fact, not a hypothetical example. If he meant it as the latter, then the paragraph was very poorly written.

    http://tinyurl.com/gl6jeye

  • tarran||

    You think the phrase "nice gruel" isn't obviously sarcastic? OK.

  • Calidissident||

    In spoken speech, with the proper tone, then sure it could be clearly sarcastic. As written, I don't think that's obviously sarcastic. I've literally seen people make almost that exact same argument in very similar wording while being 100% serious. Additionally, if the comment is read sarcastically, it detracts from Block's point. The whole point of his paragraph is what he states in the next line - "the only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory." If he's not actually being serious about everything else, doesn't that detract from this central point? He can clearly avoid this issue by simply stating that his argument holds in a hypothetical example where slaves are "treated well." As is, he's trying to base an argument off of history, and then supposedly inserting a (not explicitly) sarcastic line in the middle of his argument that conflicts with the central part of his argument.

  • tarran||

    If he's not actually being serious about everything else, doesn't that detract from this central point?

    No. Because his main point is that it's the compulsion that makes the relationship bad. People who choose to slave away on a plantation picking cotton for a pittance and eating thin gruel while being free to leave are making a choice. While we may think it's a bad deal, they clearly think it's better than the alternatives because they stay!

    Let me give you a coutnerfactual. Donald Crump keeps a woman prisoner in his mansion. He has a camera where he watches her but otherwise does not molest her. She is fed the best food, and her prison is furnished with lots of comfortable furniture. She has access to a wide library of entertainment. She gets great medical care. Every luxury is provided. But she can't leave.

    Would you say that the problem was the fact that she had soft cushions, great food, a lovely pool to swim in etc.? Or would the problem be that she was being kept prisoner?

  • Calidissident||

    "No. Because his main point is that it's the compulsion that makes the relationship bad."

    Yes, and to illustrate this you bring up a hypothetical example such as the one you describe. But let's suppose you made this argument about that woman when she was actually underfed, raped, beaten, and kept in a small, cold, dark cell the whole time. Wouldn't someone point out that your description of the conditions was inaccurate and thus that undermines your assertion that the only thing wrong was the compulsion? If you didn't make it clear that this was a hypothetical where the details of her imprisonment were different, I don't see that as an unfair critique. Especially if there was a large movement in society that, in all seriousness, routinely attempted to argue that her conditions were good. Because if you (using the general you here) change the details of the situation to make your argument, and don't acknowledge that it's a hypothetical, it seems that you don't buy the underlying premise - that the compulsion was all that was wrong. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just state that even if the conditions were different, it would still be wrong?

  • tarran||

    Because, sweetie, it misses the point.

    Let's say you encounter a girl in a cell that is underfed, raped, beaten, etc. And she refuses to leave, because she wants to be there.

    Now before you sneer and say that doesn't happen, I can tell you it does; there's a website devoted to that shit which I will not attempt to link to while at work. All the "slaves" are there of their own free will, and they endure tortures that are filmed for the pleasure of a viewing audience.

    The women participating in those shows prefer to stay. They are not "slaves". What makes those nasty conditions "slavery" is.... drumroll.. the fact that the victims are not permitted to stay. And, I should point out that house slaves and artisan slaves were actually treated far better than the field slaves and in some cases in better conditions than some free laborers. That did not make their plight any less a horror.

    If you don't understand the point I and Walter Block are making, I suggest you read Frederick Douglass' letter to his old master. Note that the worst crime of slavery isn't the horrible degradation he describes. It is the extinguishing of the slaves' freedom. In fact, in the letter he describes he and his wife's first jobs after their escape. She became a servant, and he became a worker on a wharf! Essentially they went back to doing what they had as slaves!

  • Free Society||

    Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to "associate" with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn't so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves' private property rights in their own persons.

    Do you literally believe that he's claiming "slavery ain't so bad"? You must be deliberately thick to argue that he's writing slavery apologia.

  • GILMORE™||

    Instead of Gillespie rebutting the smear, he chose to make it sound like Block was some racist apologist for slavery.

    You mean willful intellectual dishonesty? That sounds so uncharacteristic though.

  • paranoid android||

    Forgive me, but I'm not seeing the willful intellectual dishonesty in *not* inserting an unnecessary digression on a matter that's about three degrees removed from the actual subject of the post he was writing...

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    Instead of Gillespie rebutting the smear, he chose to make it sound like Block was some racist apologist for slavery.

    In last night's debate, or in the blog post? In the post, all he does is quote the Times piece while focusing on Paul's statements...

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Instead of Gillespie rebutting the smear, he chose to make it sound like Block was some racist apologist for slavery.

    Well, Block's mixed-marriage freak out certainly dispelled that impression.

  • Seriously not Tulpa, you guys!||

    So you're saying that Nick treated him the same way that you and most of the posters down here treat Gary Johnson?

  • Calidissident||

    His complaint is ridiculous too. The context makes it a little better in that he's clear he thinks it's bad overall, but his characterization of it (it wasn't very bad aside from being forced to associate with other people) is still grossly inaccurate and misrepresentative of the reality of slavery. He gets that it was compulsory and therefore bad, but doesn't seem to grasp the implications of that beyond having to do work for someone you might not want to (such as being able to be raped or beaten with impunity, not being free to do anything without your master's permission even when not working, families getting broken up, etc.).

  • tarran||

    Again, I listened to the original lecture. He was being SARCASTIC. The fundamental point he was making is "how do we know slavery is bad?" Slaves keep trying to run away!!!!!

    The arguments as to whether or not slaves had good food, great working conditions, wonderful music etc is missing the point. The point was that even if all those things were true and great, the fact they kept trying to run away indicated that they thought the deal was a bad one.

  • Calidissident||

    I haven't watched it, but I've read the passage from his site. To me, there's a big difference between saying "Even if slaves got free food and good working conditions, it would still be bad because ..." and accepting the notion that slavery wasn't so bad aside from the relationship not being voluntary. Block's statement pretty much explicitly states that he agrees with the notion that slaves had pretty good working/life conditions if you set aside the fact they couldn't choose their employer. He doesn't seem to treat it as a hypothetical argument. Maybe he doesn't actually believe that, what I'm saying is that you wouldn't be able to tell that from his quote (and I'm basing this off of what he wrote in a serious article critiquing another libertarian that was unrelated at the time, but later linked by him to explain the argument he gave in the interview - so I don't see sarcasm as an explanation for it).

  • tarran||

    Again, I've listened to the lecture. Block was being very sarcastic.

    Even an autistic person would pick up on the sarcasm.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm talking about a written article, not the lecture.

  • tarran||

    Rereading the article, even an autistic person would pick up on the sarcasm.

  • Free Society||

    Wow you're thick.

  • Free Society||

    You really think the content of the lecture and this article, where he's using the same words to talk about the same subject matter, has two different meanings? Talk about cherry picking.

  • Calidissident||

    Does that mean I am also The Jacket? Or is this a sort of Holy Trinity?

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    Or is this a sort of Holy Trinity?

    ::waits patiently for the hot, Aussie redhead to slap Calidissident::

  • Free Society||

    Gillespie is Tulpa.

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    He was not making some thesis statement on slavery. It was an aside.

    You need to read the transcript in the voice of a New York Jew shrugging his shoulders.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Now these guys are left-wing "thick" libertarians, but there are right-wing "thick" libertarians too.

    I thought this was about Trump...

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    Trump doesn't like 'em thick.

  • ||

    And just from the quotes above, the Block fellow seems like a real piece of work, and exactly what I'd expect from a Trump supporter: thinly veiled racist.

  • Rhywun||

    Thinly?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You should do a little research on the topic of "thin" vs "thick" to see where old Walter is coming from. I believe a lot was written about it during the Ron Paul Newsletter Shitshow.

  • Citizen X||

    The Ron Paul Newsletter Shitshow is the name of my thrash-fuckupcore-speedpunk band.

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    Ehh... you need to think of him as a Rothbardian, not as a Trump supporter. He's trying to be funny and clever and overly 'rational.' Basically, all those insufferable traits of an Internet Libertarian trying to trap you with (often circular) logic.

    It's not like we're talking Hans Herman Hoppe here.

  • Citizen X||

    Walter Block? What the fuck is Mikey supposed to do with a guy whose name is ALREADY BLock?

  • Pompey||

    I think I get the device now. Walter SMOCK. Walter FROCK. Bamf!

  • grrizzly||

    The debate turned nasty almost immediately, with Block refusing to shake Nick's hand, referring to him as "Dr. Gillespie," and at one point calling him "vile" and a "nasty man."

    This election is bringing people together.

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    Somebody needs to remind Block of Mencken's quote about picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.

  • american socialist||

    Uh, obviously no. What kind of libertarian votes for a closed border, wall building, big military Republican? Not this one, I'll tell you.

  • Citizen X||

    What kind of libertarian self-identifies as "american socialist"? Not one, i'll tell you.

  • american socialist||

    If rich people expect the police to show up when some vagrant falls asleep on their leather sofa at least they should have the dignity to stop bitching about their taxes.

  • Citizen X||

    What does that have to do with you lying about being at all a libertarian?

  • Chipwooder||

    Why are you playing its game?

  • Citizen X||

    Look, it's been a long day, and this mole presented itself to be whacked.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Well, whack off then!

  • Jordan||

    How much of their taxes go to pay for the police?

  • kbolino||

    And the corollary of amsoc's retarded line of argumentation, if he was smart enough to understand it, would be that anyone who's not rich but benefits from police protection should give thanks to the rich people for paying for the police.

    Somehow, I doubt he's ever thanked someone else for paying taxes that benefit him.

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    "Oh...So the Government takes your money without your specific consent, and forces you to accept their 'help' when something crime-related happens to you? SO SORRY, YOUR MAJESTY!!! Why don't you richies just lie back and take it, like us normal folks?"

    That your take on it, AmSock?

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    If rich people expect the police to show up when some vagrant falls asleep on their leather sofa at least they should have the dignity to stop bitching about their taxes.

    Are there no prisons?

    And the workhouses — are they still in operation?

  • Pompey||

    Racist. Actual racist.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I presume that when you mean "closed border" you're not referring to free trade.

  • american socialist||

    Trump is bad on trade too. Every other word out of his mouth is about how we're getting screwed by bad trade deals that he'd make terrific. What's your point?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    My point sir? MY POINT? Closing the borders reaches way beyond just keeping brown people out, and in the end, there's a lot of stuff that Trump and the socialists agree on.

    Good day, sir!

  • LynchPin1477||

    Trump supporters are anti-globalist. They want trade protectionism and immigration control. They want to stick it to elites on Wall Street and Washington. They are tired of losing wars. They want to protect the social safety net for themselves and their allies.

    Sanders supporters are anti-globalist. They want trade protectionism and immigration control. They want to stick it to elites on Wall Street and Washington. They are tired of losing wars. They want to protect the society safety net for themselves and their allies.

    The only difference between Trump and Sanders supporters is that Trump supporters adherents of white identity politics and Sanders supporters are adherents of minority/gender/sexual orientation identity politics. So there is a cultural divide along those lines, but that is almost the only real source of disagreement. But boy is it a doozy, because identity politics naturally makes anyone in the outgroup a bitter enemy.

  • LynchPin1477||

    And their attitudes about eachother are so similar, too. The Sanders supporters go on about white privilege, and the Trump supporter looks around at the people they know, who have seen wages start to stagnate and even life expectancy start to drop for certain groups, and ask "WTF?" The Trump supporters talk about all the benefits that minorities get through affirmative action and other government programs, and the Sanders supporter looks around at the state of education or police relations or poverty levels among minorities and ask "WTF?"

    But rather than realize how similar they actually are and that there is a common source of many of their problems, they keep on attacking each other.

  • Free Society||

    So there is a cultural divide along those lines, but that is almost the only real source of disagreement. But boy is it a doozy, because identity politics naturally makes anyone in the outgroup a bitter enemy.

    The only reason whites have recently engaged any mainstream identity politicking is because they've been made into the bitter enemy relative to every other conceivable outgroup. Particularly white males. If the vast majority of people are banding together into groups bent on your destruction, demotion or enserfment, owing to your membership in a group you don't necessarily even recognize to begin with, it starts to become clear that you have an interest in recognizing the box you've been put in because all the people looking to knock you down a peg certainly do.

  • R C Dean||

    Yup, its the old "just because you aren't interested in war, doesn't mean war isn't interested in you" thing.

  • Jordan||

    referring to him as "Dr. Gillespie"

    lolwut? Is Block basically a real-life version of the caricature military officer from South Park who always sneers Mr. Scientist?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    Mistakenly thinks that Nick is in academia? He's not used to debating people without a doctorate?

  • sarcasmic||

    After Weld's praise of Hillary, I'm going to write in "None of the above".

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    i'm writing in Monty Brewster

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What's Punky Brewster, chopped liver?

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Soleil Moon Frye? good call.

  • bacon-magic||

    Lol. The Jacket couldn't help Nick out.

  • toolkien||

    As the proud owner of Tall, Long Walls, Inc., with a subsidiary in Mexico - Equipos Para Túneles, S.A de C. v., I emphatically say YES!

  • Jerry on the sea||

    ...and moderated by Gene Epstein, who's the economics and book review editor at Barron's (and also happens to be my father.

    I wonder how many debate questions Nick got in advance.

  • Tyler.C||

    It was a real debate format, not the presidential fake debate firmat.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Was Abraham Lincoln discussed? IF NOT WHY NOT?!

  • Pompey||

    Who's this Domestic Dissident / Mike M. guy? Where did he come from? I mean, replacing one letter or sound for another in someone's name, and then making it sound kind of goofy? Genius SHIT! I mean, fuck, Geld. BLEW. MY. MIND. GENIUS.

  • Citizen X||

    Mike M. is the Karl Pilkington of the commentariat, except not as clever or likable.

  • SIV||

    Block, who was arguing in favor of Trump, prevailed by convincing more audience members to come over to his side.

    The science is settled: Trump is the best and only libertarian choice in this election.

  • Citizen X||

    Well, at least your chickens think you're smart.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    THEY HAVEN'T HATCHED YET!

  • Citizen X||

    SIV's been busy in the henhouse, so those are gonna be some fucked-up looking chicks.

  • The Fusionist||

    Block doesn't sound like a nice fellow, but I find it difficult to believe that he actually portrayed slaves singing happily as they picked cotton. I'd like to see the full interview transcript.

    But then he ways libertarians should be neutral on racism vs. non-racism, and specifically neutral on the legitimacy of interracial marriages.

    To have a basis for freedom, you have to respect marriage. That's part of the "laws of nature and of nature's God." Marriage precedes the state, it's more important than the state.

    Traditional marriage is independent of race - attempts by the secular state to derecognize and persecute these marriages is contrary to the aforementioned laws of nature and of nature's God.

    Once we start getting all neutral and above it all on what constitutes a marriage, the state rushes into into the void - and the same principle which can justify derecognizing interracial marriage can justify recognizing same-sex unions and compelling gay cakes.

  • Hugh Akston||

    To have a basis for freedom, you have to respect marriage. That's part of the "laws of nature and of nature's God." Marriage precedes the state, it's more important than the state.

    Eddie, you're the funniest commenter here. Never let anyone tell you different.

  • The Fusionist||

    So you don't want to examine what I said and analyze whether it's right or wrong?

    You are behaving like a prog - specifically, you're taking the Daily Show approach to political argument - don't bother to defend your position, just make funny faces and laugh when the other person states their position.

    Why should someone who isn't a Daily Show fan - i. e., anyone with two functioning neurons to rub together - be persuaded by your "argument"?

  • Free Society||

    Hugh Akston,a prog?!?!? NO FUCKING WAY

  • The Fusionist||

    No, behaving like a prog.

  • Free Society||

    UNPOSSIBLE, NOT HIM

  • Hugh Akston||

    a) I was making a joke not an argument. Your college logic 101 text probably didn't cover the distinction between the two.

    b) I'm not going to take seriously a critique about argumentation from someone who rests his premises on a fictional character.

  • The Fusionist||

    Thomas Jefferson was fictional?

    Oh, well, I guess we're both precluded from using him to support our arguments, right?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    To say whether it's right or wrong, you'd need to make some kind of argument. You can't just throw out, "To have a basis for freedom, you have to respect marriage," and leave it like that.

  • The Fusionist||

    Would the disproportional crime rate among fatherless boys and youth qualify as an argument?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    No.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You see Hugh, Block and Gillespie discussed the many differences between "thin" and "thick" libertarianism. Eddie has his own brand of libertarianism, and it doesn't involve homos marrying, good music, or a lone reply, that's for damn sure.

  • The Fusionist||

    OK, so why *doesn't* marriage precede the state?

    Why *doesn't* it mean the union of a man and a woman (racial differences being immaterial)?

  • The Fusionist||

    And why *isn't* there such a thing as the laws of nature and of nature's God?

    (yes, I don't always believe in lone replies)

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Please argue with me about gay marriage! Please! PLEASE! PLEASE!!!!!!!

  • The Fusionist||

    What's the matter, Crusty, don't you like me?

  • The Fusionist||

    Haven't you seen the argument sketch in Monty Python? Argument and abuse are not the same.

    I've argued for my position and you haven't made a counter-argument. If you want an argument, I'll see how much energy I have.

    Or maybe I could take the abuse shortcut like you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Please do.

  • The Fusionist||

    Let's see...

    OK, get this book, find the most offensive joke in there, and apply it to your mother.

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    C'mon, Eddie; you gave me that business a week or two ago. Crusty deserves something with a little more freshness/more of a kick than that.

  • The Fusionist||

    OK, you got me.

    How about this book?

    Just look up the sickest burn they have, read it aloud to yourself, and pretend it's me doing it.

  • paranoid android||

    Let's play Eddie's argument mad-libs:

    To have a basis for freedom, you have to throw virgin sacrifices into a volcano so that the sun doesn't go out. That's part of the "laws of nature and of nature's God." Virgin sacrifice precedes the state, it's more important than the state.

  • The Fusionist||

    Where are you going to find virgins at H&R?

  • yet another dave||

    Coming in late... but I'm guessing there's few around here... mixed in with the rest of us who've bumped our uglies with as many of the proletariat as we could

  • tarran||

    I find it difficult to believe that he actually portrayed slaves singing happily as they picked cotton. I'd like to see the full interview transcript.

    I've heard the lecture (which I can't seem to find via google). It was a talk on libertarianism at the Mises Institute. Block was sarcastically repeating the excuses given by slavery apologists as to why slavery was in fact to the benefit of the slaves. He then stuck the knife in the whole enterprise with the observation that since slaves weren't allowed to leave and wanted to leave, it was clearly bad.

    If you read Defending the Indefensible, you will come accross a lot of similar instances of humor.

  • tarran||

    Incidentally, in the lecture in question, when he made that comment, many in the audience burst out laughing. I snickered too. We all got the fact that he was mocking the apologia of slavery.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Once we start getting all neutral and above it all on what constitutes a marriage, the state rushes into into the void

    The Roman Empire didn't regulate marriage nor did Europe until Luther and Calvin came along and decided to put the police power of government behind their religious ideas on marriage.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

  • The Fusionist||

    Actually, Luther and Calvin got the secular authorities into the business of *defining* marriage.

    Previously, the secular authorities left such matters to the Church's tribunals.

    But then the Pope said Henry VIII was still married to Cathering of Aragon, and Henry didn't like that outcome.

  • The Fusionist||

    Catherine

  • John Titor||

    The Roman Empire didn't regulate marriage

    Sorry, this is completely incorrect. See the Lex Papia Poppaea and Augustus' laws in regards to marriage. Before that, marriage in the Republic had different legal defined forms, with, for example, some patricians engaging in confarreatio, a marriage that was traditionally more legally binding and difficult to divorce from. And this isn't even getting into the legal shift from the early Roman period to the later Republic in regards to women's property.

    Marriage was absolutely regulated in Roman society, and I have no idea how people have come to the conclusion it wasn't.

  • kbolino||

    Once we start getting all neutral and above it all on what constitutes a marriage, the state rushes into into the void

    What? This doesn't make any sense and doesn't align with what has actually happened.

    State interventions in the marriage business have always been demanded by (some subset of) the voters. From bans on miscegenation to bans on, or recognition of, same-sex marriage, there has never been a case where "the people" took no position on the matter and the state just up an decided to "fill the void".

    Relationships between humans, whether martial or otherwise, precede the state and exist without it. The state intervenes in these relationships to serve the interests of others who are not part of those relationships. In our polity, those others are generally the voter.

  • The Fusionist||

    The most prominent libertarian-certified social liberal in the country right now boasts of his tolerance for all lifestyles - he's so tolerant he'd force bakers to make cakes for alternative lifestyles.

  • kbolino||

    ... ok, what does that have to do with anything you originally said or anything I said in response?

  • The Fusionist||

    Supporting Gary Johnson seems to be an example of statism rushing in to fill a void created by a carefully-cultivated libertarian attitude of neutrality among "lifestyle choices" and virulent denunciation of the defenders of true marriage as the equivalent of racists.

    Ideas have consequences - if a businessperson who believes marriage is a union between a man and a woman is the equivalent of a businessperson who wants a whites-only restaurant, then of course the law should treat them the same, and screw the First Amendment.

    Johnson actually said it, and some (not all) H&R commenters come up with some variation of "of course I disagree but I'm not losing sleep over these bigots getting what's coming to them."

  • kbolino||

    Ok, fine, still not particularly germane

  • kbolino||

    Yes, the topic in question is about who libertarians should vote for. I'm not talking about that, I'm responding to a specific comment you made.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    The damn Germans ain't got nothing to do with this!

  • The Fusionist||

    And now, of course, if you want to defend religious/associational freedom, you'll have to deal with the argument that you're not a Responsible Libertarian like that nice Gary Johnson fellow.

  • kbolino||

    Can you try to argue with the person you're actually talking to?

  • The Fusionist||

    All right, fine.

    What some are calling neutrality is actually leaving the field clear for the SJWs to impose their view of marriage on the country.

    I'm speaking of political reality here, not "no, no, that's not what we *meant* to happen!"

    We've gone from a regime in which businesspeople could decide whether to cater gay wedding ceremonies to a regime in which their power of choice has been taken from them.

    A reduction of liberty in the name of neutrality among lifestyle choices.

    "No, that's not what I *wanted* to happen when I preached neutrality and denounced all the evil troglodytic equivalents-of-racists who weren't on board. I was simply defending an ideal libertopia where the government disregards everyone's marital status, except for the case of children which I hand-waved away with assurances that they'd figure something out. It wasn't my *intent* that the arguments I used could be invoked on behalf of a regime of 'you are beink tolerant, yes? Because ve haf ways of making you more loving and accepting, ja?"

  • kbolino||

    A reduction of liberty in the name of neutrality among lifestyle choices.

    It's not "in the name of neutrality". The people demanding it are not neutral. Johnson is not neutral. You either don't know what neutrality means, or you have forgotten several intermediate steps along the way to making your argument.

  • The Fusionist||

    Of course they're not neutral!

    They simply managed to capture the vocabulary and *act like* they're neutral.

    This is my point about how things have worked out politically.

  • kbolino||

    Johnson has been roundly criticized for his "gay/nazi cakes" position. He may use the vocabulary but he hasn't captured it.

    And this is all still beside the point you originally made, which was: "Once we start getting all neutral and above it all on what constitutes a marriage, the state rushes into into the void".

  • The Fusionist||

    Which "religious laws?"

    Thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not steal?

    Or are you arguing that these laws aren't "religious" - they're justifiable on secular terms independent of any religion?

    And if you've made that concession, how far does your concession extend?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    He is, kb: himself.

  • toolkien||

    I don't know what neutral means per se, but libertarians should be disinterested, AT LARGE, about people's belief in the mixture of marriages. PERSONALLY, if someone asks me my opinion, and I feel inclined to answer their questions because I have some sort of bond with them that compels me to help them, I'll share my opinion on the matter and my hopes that it be the same opinion as others. As for "government filling the void" it's only because people can't find it within themselves to be disinterested, but if I rush in as well, because they do, then I am no longer disinterested, and I have lost the lynch pin of libertarianism. I'm speaking of libertarian as a political animal - disinterest in what other people believe and espouse, so long as they are peaceful and productive is what matters.

    In short, neutral implies an interest, up to and using Force, but you choose to abate its use for some calculated reason. Disinterest says I don't have an interest of any kind, and so using Force is absurd and without a point.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Block certainly comes off as a thin-skinned comcern troll. Not sure how or why he "won."

  • Hugh Akston||

    Block refusing to shake Nick's hand, referring to him as "Dr. Gillespie," and at one point calling him "vile" and a "nasty man."

    Should libertarians use Trump's insults?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    *thinks*

    We're skeptical of Intellectual Property, so... fair game?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Hugh Akston? That guy can't buy a pair of pants.

  • Citizen X||

    Trump addresses people he doesn't like as "Doctor"?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I honestly don't get the Doctor thing... what's that about?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nick's PhD is in some librul artz bullshit, not a hard science like Economics.

  • Pompey||

    STEM elitist!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Oh shit, I didn't even know Nick has a PhD.

  • R C Dean||

    Its Dr. Nick from here on out.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Dr. G.

  • SparktheRevolt||

    Dr. Jacket

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    Isn't he the basis for Dr. Nick Riviera?

    I mean, Dr. Nick is pretty much a Libertarian...

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    I'm assuming it's an ivory tower reference which is rich coming from a guy in academia.

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    Only if they pay the licensing fees.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Gillespie vs an anarchist? Talk about a smug-off.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Did Nicky G show up in... what is that, a Ramones teeshirt?

  • Citizen X||

    He'll be 20 again one of these days, you'll see! The Jacket promised him youth! YOUTH!

  • R C Dean||

    It never ceases to amaze me that grown men think dressing like a teenager won't strip them of credibility.

  • SIV||

    At another point in the debate, Block criticized Reason's brand of libertarianism

    So Block is a "mainstream" middle-of-the-road libertarian.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    There is "thin" libertarianism, "thick" libertarianism, Eddie-tarianism, and lastly SIVertariansim. This is a simple brand involving pictures of ladies in generously cut bloomers, a Donald Trump fetish, and a burning hatred for all things Gasy Jasy.

  • Citizen X||

    You forgot cocks, man! SIV loves cocks. You should see his, it's got two-inch-long spurs and a bright red comb and wattles on its head.

  • Free Society||

    If Nick Gillespie wanted to win the debate, he should have been the moderator. That's when he debates best.

  • ||

    Haha sick burn.

  • SIV||

    That's Dr. Moderator to you, pal

  • Pompey||

    Haha, awesome. Wayne Allen Root is still a piece of shit.

  • Matt Welch||

    I laughed.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nick you had better change your Twitter handle to @DrNasty after this.

  • The Fusionist||

    He might get confused with *drnasty, an actual handle only with all lowercase letters.

  • The Fusionist||

    @drnasty

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yaaaaawwwwn

  • SparktheRevolt||

    Shouldn't the author of Defending the Undefendable be able to take criticism betteR?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Now these guys are left-wing "thick" libertarians"

    Bingo!

    Progressitarians

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Nick's conclusion was very good. Otherwise, he came off rude and snarky.

    Walter Block's conclusion was terrible, especially the refusal to accept an apology. Otherwise, he made some pretty good arguments.

    Obviously Block takes Nick's snarkiness seriously. That's too bad. The better response would be to call Nick out as an idiot and forget about it. I don't think that I've read the article to that so offended Block, but I'm sure his offense was out of proportion. It seems that libertarians, thick and thin or whatever, are as bad as socialists: the only people that the democratic socialists hate more than the capitalists are the socialist workers, the social democrats, and the national labor socialists. It would be a good thing if libertarians were follow Reagan's maxim that the guy you agree on 80% of the issues is your ally, not 20% a traitor. Nick is right about neither Trump nor Hillary qualifying on that criterion. But I think Nick and Walter do qualify, and they ought to bury the hatchet. As should the Cato/IHS/Reason and the Rothbardian wings of the libertarian movement, which was on display during this debate.

  • Tyler.C||

    I couldn't agree more.

  • PeteW9||

    I must be too drunk and high cuz I though the whole article was satire. Either I have a sense of humor or the world really is that cynical. Meh.

  • Brandybuck||

    What these scoundrels do, and I include Dr. Gillespie here, is try to hijack libertarianism away from the "thin" libertarianism by adding all sorts of other irelevancies. Like, say, mixed marriages.


    What the fuckityfuck? What part of the non-aggression principle does "Dr" Block not understand? It's none of his concern who marries who! If some person of a pale shade wants to marry a person of a less pale shade, the NAP says you can't do anything about it.

    The NAP means any consenting act or agreement between two people that does not violate the rights of any third party is legal. It's possible to be a racist and a libertarian, but it's impossible to be a libertarian and use state to impose your ideas on others.

    OMG! Legalize mixed marriage and the next thing you know they might let Blacks be caddie at the country club!

  • Dalmazio||

    Proposition:

    "Should libertarians vote for Donald Trump for president?"

    This is a dishonestly framed proposition because it hides the different types of NO votes as one block:

    a) NO: they should vote for Johnson
    b) NO: they should vote for Clinton
    c) NO: they should vote for another candidate

    Vote tally before debate (actual):

    17.8% UNDECIDED
    31.1% YES = TRUMP
    51.1% NO = CLINTON/JOHNSON/OTHER

    Breakdown of NO (possible)-
    CLINTON: 31.1% (say same as Trump)
    JOHNSON/OTHER: 20%

    Vote tally after debate (actual):

    5.5% UNDECIDED
    38.8% YES = TRUMP
    55.5% NO = CLINTON/JOHNSON/OTHER

    Breakdown of NO (possible)-
    CLINTON: 10%
    JOHNSON/OTHER: 45.5%

    Results (possible):

    TRUMP increased by 7.7% (Walter Block)
    JOHNSON/OTHER increased by 25.5% (Nick Gillespie)
    CLINTON decreased by 21.1%

    In other words, by implicitly combining CLINTON, JOHNSON, and OTHER into one category, we only see that there wasn't that much NET change in this group (only 4.4%), but in actuality, this change COULD have come from a massive reduction in CLINTON/UNDECIDED votes, and huge increase in JOHNSON/OTHER votes. This is hidden by the choice of proposition.

    (continued...)

  • Dalmazio||

    Proposition: "Should libertarians vote for Donald Trump for president?"

    This is a dishonestly framed proposition because it hides the different types of NO votes as one block:

    a) NO: they should vote for Johnson
    b) NO: they should vote for Clinton
    c) NO: they should vote for another candidate

    Vote tally before debate (actual):

    17.8% UNDECIDED
    31.1% YES = TRUMP
    51.1% NO = CLINTON/JOHNSON/OTHER

    Breakdown of NO (possible)-
    - CLINTON: 31.1% (say same as Trump)
    - JOHNSON/OTHER: 20%

    Vote tally after debate (actual):

    5.5% UNDECIDED
    38.8% YES = TRUMP
    55.5% NO = CLINTON/JOHNSON/OTHER

    Breakdown of NO (possible)-
    - CLINTON: 10%
    - JOHNSON/OTHER: 45.5%

    Results (possible):

    TRUMP increased by 7.7% (Walter Block)
    JOHNSON/OTHER increased by 25.5% (Nick Gillespie)
    CLINTON decreased by 21.1%

    In other words, by implicitly combining CLINTON, JOHNSON, and OTHER into one category, we only see that there wasn't that much NET change in this group (only 4.4%), but in actuality, this change COULD have come from a massive reduction in CLINTON/UNDECIDED votes, and huge increase in JOHNSON/OTHER votes. This is hidden by the choice of proposition.

    (continued...)

  • Dalmazio||

    (…continued)

    Conclusion:

    The proposition is false, and should be rejected since it biases results heavily in favour of Trump by concealing the breakdown of support in the NO categories. This debate was organized for one purpose only: to drum up support for Trump, using dishonest question rigging tactics. Gillespie was right to reject the proposition. Block and the organizers should be ashamed of themselves.

    A proper proposition would have been framed to cover all possible choices clearly and explicitly:

    "Who should libertarians vote for? a) Trump, b) Clinton, c) Johnson, d) Other, or e) Undecided?"

    Then take a before and after snapshots. Increases in the Trump category would go to Walter Block, and increases in Johnson (and Other) categories would go to Nick Gillespie.

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