Freddie deBoer: Let's Kill the 'Cult of Smart' and Legacy Media

A third-generation Marxist critiques the contemporary left and discusses what progressives and libertarians might have in common.


Born in 1981, Freddie deBoer is an English Ph.D., the author of The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice, and the proprietor of one of the liveliest, most provocative, and most controversial publications at Substack.

He is also a third-generation Marxist who believes that individuals are innately different from one another (probably due to inherited differences in intelligence and physical capacity) and that many of his fellow Bernie Sanders-loving, progressive inhabitants of Brooklyn are hurting the poor when they insist that all K-12 students take college prep classes and have access to higher education. "Education is not a weapon against inequality; it is an engine of inequality," he writes, sounding like Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe when it comes to promoting well-paying but low-status trade jobs. What deBoer calls "the cult of smart"—the valorization of test-taking and a belief that all of us are blank slates who can be remediated through the right sort of instruction and environment—not only marginalizes the poor and "untalented," it ultimately blames them for their own condition.

His take on legacy media is equally acid, as when he tells critics of Substack, the controversial newsletter platform that has given a financially rewarding home to him and other writers who either left or never gained purchase at traditional journalistic outlets, "You don't like the writing that gets sold on Substack, cool, write better shit and sell it to more people."

Nick Gillespie talks with deBoer about his critiques of education, the mainstream media, and the contemporary left. They also wrangle over deBoer's call for "revolution, not evolution" and an end to capitalism, what it means to "want to live outside of exchange," and the surprising overlap between Marxists and libertarians when it comes to a range of current policy issues.

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  1. Marxism is the exact opposite of libritarianism. Saying that both don’t like current policies is not an agreement

    1. It’s the exact opposite on a range of issues, but not all issues. I mean duh. In hte economic sphere they are mostly opposites, but a few places they do agree. Namely the place where both are opposed to crony capitalism. Now this will make Randroids sad, but the the word “capitalism” is not everywhere and always a good thing. Welfare for corporations, for example, or special favors to special businesses so they don’t move to Mexico, to name a recent example.

      In terms of social issues, there is generally a lot of agreement. THe problem is that too many kneejerkers think “cultural marxism” is a real thing, and conflate that with actual Marxism. But Marxists and Libertarians are generally in the same neighborhood when it comes to the legalization of drugs, prostitution, alternative lifestyles, living off the grid, etc. Just because someone is on the Left does not mean they are a Marxist.

      1. Libertarians have more in common with Marxism than with modern conservatism. It’s sad that it’s come to that, but here we are.

        And that’s not saying much. In so far as Marxism celebrates individualism in the social sphere, they are our allies. But they are not willing to extend this celebration of individualism into the economic sphere.

        1. Shit man New York may elect old Yang as mayor and that dude seems receptive to some deregulation and understands how important the market is for our shared prosperity.

          1. Does Yang call himself a Marxist? If he does, that is just further proof the word has become almost meaningless.

            1. Tony doesn’t call himself an idiot, but……..

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        2. Holy shit. You really are fucking retarded.

          And to think you deny claims you’re an authoritarian.

          1. We would all be so much better off of their kind congregated in a landfill and stayed there forever

        3. “Libertarians have more in common with Marxism than with modern conservatism. It’s sad that it’s come to that, but here we are.

          Not only is that statement beyond ridiculous, it’s a complete and utter fucking lie by you. You know that isn’t true, you don’t believe a word of it yourself. This is gaslighting in it’s purest form.

          Fuck you Chipper, you gaslighting piece of shit.

        4. “Marxism celebrates individualism” You’re kidding, right?

          1. If you ask the average Marxist whether they support certain individual social freedoms, they would probably say yes, even though their philosophy might oppose methodological individualism. That is all I meant.

            1. answering “yes” to that question and supporting freedom are two very different things.

              Hint: Marxism is built on saying things that are not actually true

          2. It celebrates the individual’s right to choose what (and only what) the state offers.

        5. GTFO LOL

        6. Libertarians have more in common with Marxism than with modern conservatism.

          This may be true depending on how one defines it. I prefer the more British version– although there are great British conservatives who also don’t have any use for the Tories because they’re nothing but neo-liberal center-left corporatists as well.

          But given the basic definition of “conservative” as one who wants to “conserve” something, libertarians should have a lot more in common with conservatives than most on the left– certainly in the Western World.

        7. “Libertarians have more in common with Marxism than with modern conservatism.”

          Because the LP is a collection of idiots and morons who don’t have a cogent thought in their heads.

          Libertarians are just progressives who like pot and hookers.

        8. “… but here we are.”

          You got a mouse named Karl in your pocket?

      2. The person being interviewed literally says he’s a marxist

        1. Check out chippers comment. I always knew he was a leftist, but didn’t think he was further than Jeff on the spectrum.

          1. All of screech and pod’s sockpuppets are out running cover for Marxists and samefagging tonight.
            Gillespie lit the bat signal by throwing the magic word “Marxist ” in the header.

        2. He is also a third-generation Marxist . . .

          “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”.

          — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Buck v. Bell

      3. Namely the place where both are opposed to crony capitalism.

        Trump capitalism. He leeches off the taxpayer by lying about the valuation of his real estate, launders money for Russian mobsters, locks his properties into overpriced contracts funded by taxpayers, stiffs vendors and customers, etc.

        1. I know. Trump’s ‘contribution’ to our economy is subzero. A dude who mows a lawn contributes more than him.

          1. Hey, Buttplug likes ducking children. You have the mind of a small child.

            Perhaps he could fuck you? You’re both leftist trash, so you’ve got that in common too.

        2. Lol. As corporations actively collude woth democrats this is your take.

      4. I don’t think “Randroids” consider crony capitalism, or fascistic control of one’s competitors, or rent seeking to be “Capitalism.”

        1. Of course not. As long as you inherit granddad’s railroad.

      5. That’s why we need to define our terms. Calling something that isn’t Capitalism, Capitalism is a dodge and an attempt to confuse and obfuscate. A LIE.

      6. “THe problem is that too many kneejerkers think “cultural marxism” is a real thing, and conflate that with actual Marxism.”

        Of course its a real thing; the term was used heavily when I was taking classes in my university. It referred to a tradition of cultural materialism that emerged from Marxist critiques, often applied to historical analysis and cultural analysis. It also had some cross-influence with various forms of radicalism that existed separately (and were also influenced by Marxism), like radical feminism and radical race theory, which were influenced by cultural Marxism and which in turn influenced cultural Marxism. That’s where intersectional theory comes from. Of course, classical Marxists always critiqued it and said it wasn’t “really” Marxism, but its a real thing.

        The people denying that its a real thing and say its all some conspiracy theory don’t know what they’re talking about.

        Anyway, yea historically, many libertarian thinkers were actually pretty indirectly influenced by Marxism, through anarchist writers. But I still think finding common ground between Marxism and libertarianism is kind of a pointless excercise…

        Marxism itself isn’t a view of what the correct economic and social policies should be, since Marxist theory argues that the state is going to wither away, and correct policies are a moot discussion. Marx himself derided democracy as bourgeois and hated democratic socialists. Marxism is rather a method of social theory and critique which tends to see truth as subjective and all politics as a process of class struggle. This view tends to box in libertarian opinions, whether they’re “Randian” or not, as a type of “false consciousness.”

        Then, on the other side of things, to say there’s only one correct libertarian view of social policy is incorrect. There are so-called paleolibertarians who thought abortion should be illegal and disagreed with same-sex marriage. The libertarian analysis of these issues always depended on how you defined them. ie A libertarian who sees abortion as murder is more likely to have it comfortable being illegal. This just isn’t the version of libertarianism that sticks out the most, because, politically speaking, its most efficient to market libertarianism on the “economically conservative, socially liberal” lines to make libertarians look like centrists and draw people from both sides of the spectrum.

        So what you end up with is some libertarians agree with some Marxists on some issues. ????‍♂️

        1. Name me something that violates libertarianism in collective-bargaining, forming a labor union, throwing your shitty boss out the door, advocating that the company you work for stop polluting the environment, or being conscious of your class and economic position in society.

          1. Throwing your shitty boss out the door is initiating force specifically battery. It would violate the NAP.

          2. The part were you beg for tax dollars to bail out your pension.

      7. Nonsense. If you knew about Marxism you would know that every socialist/commie country has prohibited prostitution, drugs, alternative styles, etc.

      8. Just renaming political cronyism as crony capitalism doesn’t make it a form of capitalism. Your welfare and special favor examples of “not everywhere and always a good thing” capitalism are both just examples of political cronyism.

        1. Few groups are more pro-cronyism than Marxists.

          Odd that it is the Left bailing out folks like Bezos and the like, ain’t it?

      9. Where does anyone get this crap that Marxism favors social freedom like Libertarianism?

        Marxist regimes had and still have prohibitions of drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, dissident art, pornography, and severe restrictions if not prohibitions on abortion and contraception. All were regarded as “Bourgeois Decadence” or “Counter-Revolutionary” and at croes-purposes with State goals.

        Cuba’s Muriel Boat Lift of Castro’s “criminals” were mostly homosexuals and psychiatric dissenters.

        Zimbabwe/Rhodesia’s Marxist Dictator Robert Mugabe also responded to the global outbreak of HIV/AIDS by imprisoning homosexuals.

        Romania’s Dictator Nicholai Ceauşescu prohibited abortion and contraception and required monthly OB/GYN examinations of women to assure against use of these as well as “accidents.”

        In Communist Poland, Solidarity dissenters had to print their brochures, leaflets, and posters by making letters out of rubber tires glued backwards onto boards, inking the letters with a paint roller, then they placed paper on the inked letters and pressed the paper down with with kitchen rollers.

        This primitive method of printing shows just how little “social freedom” people have without the benefits of mass-produced Free-Market Capitalist Xerox and IBM printers. The fact that Poles showed such ingenuity in spite of their lot says more for the Poles than for their Marxist regime, (as well as refutes Nazi stereotypes on Polish intelligence.)

        Beatnik and Hippie culture brought from the West was regarded as “Hooliganism” and “Parasitism” even in post-Stalinist regimes of the old Soviet Union. The most desireable Western commodities Soviet citizens smuggled and enjoyed on the sly were Calvin Klein Jeans, Pepsi-Cola, and Playboy.

        Marxism and social freedom are like two Venn Diagram circles on opposite sides of a black hole. Bringing them together would destroy them both.

    2. In Europe, libertarianism is much closer to pure communism than it is to anarcho-capitalism as it is here in the US.

      1. Congrats radical statist you linked to an article written by progressives about what they think a libritarian is

        1. It’s an online encyclopedia, you fool. Backed with independent sources.

          I know wingnuts hate them some “book learning” but if you want to challenge that definition go ahead and knock yourself out.

          Conservapedia is still out there.

          Like most conservative alternative truths it sucks ass though. It’s like all those idiots went to Hillsdale College and listened to Fat Rush Limbaugh for their “education”.

          1. No. It isnt. It is a leftist shit hole on every political topic. So much so its founder openly discusses how terrible it now is.

            1. Leftists shit on everything. They also have a bizarrely high frequency of pedophilia.

          2. Jesse, you’re a whiny little bitch.

            You couldn’t possibly be in a position to judge the bias of anything. A reader of the New York Times is simply closer to being correct about the facts of the world than you. A reader if the New York Times doesn’t just stick to that one information bubble. We read about 10 newspapers a day and investigate everything until, if necessary, we get down to scientific papers.

            You believe whatever the screeching fat man tells you to believe. There’s a difference.

            1. Ah yes, no information bubbles among the gentry left. No sirreee. Rigorous pursuers of the truth you are. Pure as the driven snow in their pursuit of truth, and tenaciously, nay, incorruptibly open-minded to opposing views.

            2. you forgot your alternate reality tags

            3. I would think you could do much less reading to say such predictable things. You’re indistinguishable in beliefs from a college kid commenting on YouTube.

              1. It’s good to know that college kids are so smart.

                1. Especially my English lit barista.

            4. “We read about 10 newspapers a day and investigate everything until, if necessary, we get down to scientific papers.”

              Based on the “science” you hold sacrosanct…that is an outright lie. The Left reads ONLY leftist sources. Conservatives and independents do not have that problem.

          3. Oh please wikipedia is nothing but a leftist tool disguised as an encyclopedia.

            1. Actually, Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, identifies as an Objectivist, though whether Leftist ideologues have infiltrated the editorship is another story.

        2. Just curious: Is there any particular reason you spell it “libritarian?” Is that some peronal tic of writing like the other Reverend calling us “The Liberal-Libertarian Alliance?”

        3. And not even libertarianism, libertarian socialism.

          Retard fails to discover that when you put an adjective in front of a noun, it doesn’t conver the noun into the adjective. Not surprised.

          1. Jeff also tried inventing globalist libertarian.

      2. Well, you have to consider that Europeans also believe in a “right to be forgotten”…and have very good reason to be that way.

      3. That’s just conflating labels. The mere fact that due to historic accident, two very different tendencies wound up with the same label (as one of several choices for labeling them) doesn’t mean we should recognize them as the same thing.

        Don’t be like the people who equivocate about meanings of “organic” to vex those trying to discuss it seriously. It’s not like male homosexuals must be happy because they’re “gay”.

        1. No, it isn’t. Both are different ways to view the concept of liberty, and its relation to property rights.

          How much liberty does a person have if that person owns no property?

          1. Isn’t your body your property?

      4. You are, and continue to be, a moron.

        Communism = Libertarianism.


        Oh, in Europe.


        Libertarianism has been opposed to communism since before either were born. You’re an asshole who doesn’t like definitions because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Deal.

      5. both extremes suck

      6. So… If there is Libertarian Socialism, can there also be Libertarian National Socialism?

        What the Hell would that even look or sound like?

        “Please, pretty please, with sugar on top, voluntarily raise your right hand and say Seig Heil?

        “Plese, pretty please, with chiffon icing on top, voluntarily wear these pretty-colored patches to distinguish yourself from the others?”

        “Please, pretty please, with collard greens on top, voluntarily be a shoe-shine boy for the Waffen SS Jackbooted Legions?”

        “Please, pretty please, with Ripple and Night Train on top, voluntarily come inside this railroad boxcar?”

        “Please, pretty please, with pork froth on top, voluntarily jump into a gas chamber?”

    3. Did he say Marxism? I’m triggered!!!!!! Triggered, I tell you!!!!

      1. Can you point me to something Karl marx has written that is libritarian?

        1. The Libritarian Manefesto

          He was drunk at the time.

        2. Libertarian Marxism is a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian and libertarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism such as left communism emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism.[citation needed]

          Libertarian Marxism is often critical of reformist positions such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France;[1] emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a state or vanguard party to mediate or aid its liberation.[citation needed] Along with anarchism, libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.[citation needed]

          Libertarian Marxism includes currents such as autonomism, council communism, De Leonism, Lettrism, parts of the New Left, Situationism, Socialisme ou Barbarie and workerism.[citation needed] Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and social anarchists. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Maurice Brinton, Cornelius Castoriadis, Guy Debord, Raya Dunayevskaya, Daniel Guérin, C. L. R. James, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Negri, Anton Pannekoek, Fredy Perlman, Ernesto Screpanti, E. P. Thompson, Raoul Vaneigem[citation needed] and Yanis Varoufakis,[2] who claims that Marx himself was a libertarian Marxist.[3]

          1. While few people love a cut and paste job in lieu of thought more than I (especially when done by you), what you posted is meaningless gibberish.

    4. Yeah, either you believe ‘from each by ability, to each by need’ or you don’t believe Marx. If you believe ‘from each by ability, to each by need’ you at least passively endorse slavery and not liberty. Anything else is between fudging defintions and smoke and mirrors to pretend that you can saw a person in half without killing them.

      1. ‘from each by ability, to each by need

        You can’t spit-shine that turd of a statement.

      2. I would highly recommend reading “The Suicide of the West”. The essay is only 15 pages but brilliantly lays out how progressivism took liberalism for all it was worth and is discarding it. Liberalism itself is the rationalization of this current process of suicide via “faith in intelligence.”

        Liberalism had a nice run there, it was very pleasant for a while. But it’s proven so impotent at leading that it can be taken over by a newsroom of 25-year-old “communists” with cow rings who spend more on their SSRIs and therapists than a healthy person spends on their home

    5. I don’t think so. The monopolist and communist alike favor consolidation of power and elimination of competition often through social atomization and abolition of hierarchy. Libertarianism and modern progressivism lead to exactly the same place. Whether the monopolist is in control or “the people’s vanguard” is irrelevant.

  2. “Reparations won’t help African-American test scores”.

    No shit.

    1. Well, we anti-racists support allowing Black bodies into top tier colleges even if their SAT scores aren’t that high. Standardized tests are meaningless anyway and should probably be abolished.


      1. speak for yoself!

        1. But you have to support affirmative action, Mr. Buttplug. Your own logic demands it.

          Remember the Wikipedia definition of “right wing” you’ve referenced literally dozens of times? By your preferred terminology, opposing AA is unambiguously “right wing.” And you reeeeeeeeeally don’t want to be right wing on race-related issues. Because that basically makes you a Nazi.

          1. A government whose policies favor a race/religion/ethnic group is “right wing” by definition. Therefore Affirmative Action is “right wing” and that is why I oppose it.

            Now you could say AA is left wing because it is an attempt to remedy inequality (left spectrum) and you would have an argument.

            AA is such bad policy it might be both at once.

            1. “Therefore Affirmative Action is ‘right wing’ and that is why I oppose it.”


              Reason mods, can you check IP addresses? Someone — possibly based in Russia — obviously hacked Mr. Buttplug’s account. The real Buttplug is way too smart to believe this nonsense.

              1. Actually I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t realize I was talking to an impostor Buttplug until now. There was a giveaway upthread when he wrote “Rush Limbaugh” but omitted the always hilarious followup “(Praise Be Unto Him).”


                1. Sometimes, when someone mentions Rush, you can mistake the ‘Praise be Unto Him’ with the ‘PBUH’ sound, which sounds like disgust.

                  It’s tricky.

            2. I don’t think it would harm much if implemented, in a vacuum. Certainly not any more than the millennia of legally enforced affirmative action white people have gotten.

              Its problem is that it’s terrible politics. Progressives have to reject any policy that asks normal stupid Americans to sacrifice anything, even if that thing is imaginary. If you want to give an out-group a leg up, you have to do it without anyone noticing. Usually by waiting until the old racist assholes die off.

              1. So you don’t have a problem with racist laws? Got it.

  3. what progressives and libertarians might have in common

    1. A hatred of the status quo.
    2. That’s it.

    1. Both overwhelmingly endorsed the status quo when given a choice most recently

    2. 3. Body odor
      4. . . .

  4. A lot of people equate trillion dollar corporations and amoral billionaires with capitalism. Sometimes they intersect, but often enough they exist because of cronyist connections to corrupt politicians on the take. You want to fight that, and the subsequent abuse of civil rights via corporate proxies, go ahead.

    But painting all free market capitalism as bad just means you don’t have a better idea that will work. I’ll take the least worst approach with risk and freedom over some utopia socialist crap that always devolves into totalitarianism.

    1. “A lot of people equate trillion dollar corporations and amoral billionaires with capitalism.

      Yeah, we should be clear what we’re talking about.

      Whatever else capitalism means, it also entails the means of production being distributed by markets, prices set by markets, and wealth distributed by markets. One of the key concepts so many people seem to miss is that market forces are nothing but people making choices.

      Whatever else socialism means, it also entails the means of production being controlled by government, prices set by the government, and wealth distributed by the government. Whatever socialist policy is, it is something imposed on people [markets] by government.

      Because neither case has ever been implemented purely (at least not for long) doesn’t mean these aren’t the fundamental features of these systems. Yes, something can be more capitalist or less socialist, and those distinctions matter because of the consequences of real policies in the real world.

      1. Meanwhile, libertarianism is when people are free to make choices for themselves, which is why free market capitalism is the fundamentally libertarian ideal, and authoritarianism is when the government inflicts its preferences over our choices, which is why socialism is fundamentally authoritarian.

        While some people imagine that socialism is compatible with democracy, any representative democracy that uses the coercive power of government to impose its own preferences on what would be free people making choices for themselves in markets, otherwise, is necessarily less democratic than free people representing themselves by participating in markets.

        Elections, in such socialist systems, aren’t really a reflection of the desires of the people. They’re mostly about the way the ruling elite justify the authoritarian shit they do to the people “for their own good”. But you cannot both inflict your preferences by force on people participating in markets and claim to represent the will of the people. Well, I suppose you can, but you’re a liar.

        This is why progressivism–all about using the coercive power of government to force people to do what they see as the general good–is both fundamentally socialist and fundamentally authoritarian. Their road to hell is paved with supposedly good intentions, but progressives are still America’s most horrible people.

        You can’t openly advocate using the coercive power of government to ignore and violate people’s agency [right to make choices for themselves], and be ethical–much less good. If you intend to inflict your qualitative preferences on the unwilling by force, your intentions are not good.

        1. That’s a damn excellent pair of posts, Ken.

          I’ve often wondered if actual freedom is too scary an idea for many people. I mean the sort of freedom where people can make genuine choices of conscience and association, even in a world where some like-minded people will get together and form a city called “No Blacks Allowed,” because so very many people are profoundly dumb assholes.

          So, in a very general way (to me at least, but I am no great scholar of humanity), people demand that there be authority, and that authority be used to prevent people from doing and saying things that shock or offend the milieu, and to enforce whatever mores evolve. To give the comfort of rules and order external to the individual, and therefore a sense of hierarchy and order to the universe. It seems to me that we are born actually needing that comfort, and to learn to do without it while not also being a psychopath is an exceedingly counterintuitive thing.
          A quantum leap for human nature, practically preposterous to imagine on a large scale.

  5. “You don’t like the writing that gets sold on Substack, cool, write better shit and sell it to more people.”

    Doesn’t sound very Marxist.

      1. I do enjoy you outing yourself as marxist leaning in this thread. Good stuff.

        1. The word “Marxist” doesn’t mean anything dude. It’s just another term for “Team Bad Ape.” You don’t know what Marxist means. Nobody does. Because it doesn’t mean anything.

          You all live in the same world and do the same things. What goes on inside your heads is literally imaginary.

          1. By this logic there is no such thing as Catholics, libertarians, Jews, conservatives, anti-racists, or abstract expressionists. It is profoundly stupid.

            1. Correct. Those are words that suggest certain specific behaviors. But you can be a Jew without doing anything Jewy. An abstract expressionist who paints an abstract impressionist painting. Thus, the categories are meaningless and can only serve to divide people into tribes.

              But all I mean is that Marxist is particularly stretched beyond specific meaning, and that’s entirely thanks to a century-long crypto-Nazi conspiracy theory pounded into your head by stupid right-wing assholes with power.

              Is Kim-Jong Un a Marxist? I don’t know. He looks like a muppet to me, and his country’s economy isn’t exactly pro-working-class.

              Someone who believes in a materialist class-conflict-based narrative to explain human social behavior? Fine. A person who doesn’t understand very much about people. Anyone who understands how people work in any precise way would never have a label attached to his worldview. No existing label can capture all of that complexity.

    1. Doesn’t sound very Marxist.

      And, in some minds, if he claimed he was a woman and peed sitting down he’d be a woman too.

  6. Wait, hold on a minute……… is this the guy who falsely accused someone back a few years ago of sexual harassment, and ended checking himself into a mental institution for a while?

    1. Dunno.

      I first read Freddy back when Usenet was a thing and AOL sent out CDs. I would’ve guessed he was much older by his writing style.

      He was always brilliant. Often wrong.

  7. A third-generation Marxist critiques the contemporary left and discusses what progressives and libertarians might have in common.

    Gillespie’s giving OBL a run for Koch’s pocket change.

    I see not much has changed around here.

  8. “The surprising overlap between Marxists and libertarians when it comes to a range of current policy issues.”

    Because Hitler was a vegetarian doesn’t mean he had anything in common with the way Hare Krishnas see the world. Marxists don’t have anything to teach us that we can’t learn without them.
    Everything Marxists have to teach libertarians about the way the world works seems to be in spite of Marxists and Marxism.

    Can anyone find me a Marxist who really understands, appreciates, and welcomes creative destruction?'s_thought

    To learn about creative destruction from Marxists, you have to ignore that they think it’s a bad thing.

    “Education is not a weapon against inequality; it is an engine of inequality,” he writes, sounding like Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe when it comes to promoting well-paying but low-status trade jobs. What deBoer calls “the cult of smart”—the valorization of test-taking and a belief that all of us are blank slates who can be remediated through the right sort of instruction and environment—not only marginalizes the poor and “untalented,” it ultimately blames them for their own condition.

    Yeah, there’s this thing called the Protestant work ethic, which Marxist thought can’t even come close to duplicating in practice. It created a culture where even immigrants who came here with nothing could work their asses off and make themselves and their progeny prosperous. The only job to be ashamed of is a job poorly done, and hunger is the universe’s way of telling us not to procreate.

    1. Careful sbp, chipper, and radical statist will call you triggered

      1. Why would a libertarian capitalist be triggered by Marxism and socialism?!

        Did we wake up in Bizarro World?

    2. Everything Marxists have to teach libertarians about the way the world works seems to be in spite of Marxists and Marxism.

      Well put. It’s almost like a TDS variant, where if you espouse libertarian ideas that you would otherwise find reprehensible but senselessly inject Marx’s name, it somehow makes them legitimate.

    3. So your big idea is to impose the arbitrary and oppressive “Protestant work ethic” on everyone and call it freedom because of how useful it allegedly is.

      Do you know where this “Protestant work ethic” comes from? Do you know why the Puritans want you to work until you drop? It’s so you don’t have time to think about sex.

      Stop saying you’re for freedom if your whole program is to force religion down our pants.

      1. “…impose…”

        Nice strawman you got there. Took all day for you to build it, didn’t it?

        Libertarians do not impose, they advocate.

        Of course, that is just another in a long list of things that you do not understand.

        1. You don’t impose because you don’t have power. You’re not better versions of people. In fact, you’re versions of people with a particularly reactionary worldview and no love of democracy.

          I have no doubt that you could advocate armed guards forcing teachers to teach a certain curriculum under threat of death, and still find an excuse for why it’s not force.

          1. That, mind you, is PRECISELY what Marxists do every single time they have a tiny sliver of power.

  9. “what progressives and libertarians might have in common”

    Honestly it’s shorter to just list what progressives and Koch / Reason libertarians don’t have in common these days. Other than the minimum wage I can’t think of many points of disagreement. That’s why it’s common for Reason writers to eventually become garden variety progressives: Dave Weigel, Will Wilkinson, Noah Berlatsky, etc. They were already like 98% there.


    Marijuana is a highly addictive drug that causes short-term memory loss, malaise, psychosis in predisposed individuals, violence and violent fits, as well as impairment of physical and mental functioning. Studies confirm and even defenders of marijuana admit that it causes violent paranoia.[3] Marijuana use may contribute to a rise in brain tumors. While some pretend that cannabis has “medicinal” benefits (see Medical marijuana), many scientists debunk that fiction and observe that there are numerous federally approved medicines for the diseases that “medicinal” marijuana has been used to treat. Marijuana consumption impairs one’s ability to drive, thereby creating enormous hazards on the road.

    He hehe he

    Wingnuts. What can you do?

    1. Explain the difference between evidence and watching what happens when your depressed kid spends a year being a stoner?

      It will never work.

    2. Hahaha, that’s hilarious.

  11. The only thing common between Marxism and Libertarianism is “-ism.” Marx was also a bona fide racist, sexist, Jew-hater, and lazy, walking filthpit who wrote megalomaniacal poetry, so there is that to distinguish us (I hope!)

    Marx’ critique of religion wasn’t even original, nothing that wasn’t said earlier and better by Seneca: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

  12. Let’s kill Marxists and their simps


    Last night on NPR All Things Considered, a guest says “Thousands of officers get away with killing people without consequences every year in this country” and the host offered no rebuttal or correction. Is this one of the topics where if you insist on truth NPR just fires you?

    1. So someone lied, but you just advocated mass murder.

      Your little obsessive nitpicks of the internet are kind of irrelevant if you’re advocating mass murder, don’t you think?

      1. You just said Marxist is meaningless. Just an imaginary term. How do you mass murder an imaginary term?

        1. Fascists tend to find just the reasons they’re looking for to mass murder undesirables.

          1. A whole lot of them were spewing meaningless imaginary marxist ideology when they did it, too.

          2. Tony, feel free —- define “Fascism”.

            1. And then explain how the left doesn’t embody fascism.

    2. NPR doesn’t push back against any leftist lies.

  14. “Three Generations of Imbeciles Are Enough” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  15. Is there any science in this book? I haven’t listened yet.

    People born with normal brains are not all that different from one another. Genes can make you taller or shorter, but they won’t make you a basketball player. Almost everything we spend our time doing is learned from family and culture, not genes. We have certain vague inclinations that differ, but there is no gene for “smartness” or “being a dick.” Our environment determines what kind of people we become, if we’re just talking about the uniquely human parts of us, like our interests and occupations.

    I 100% believe that there is no inherent value difference between a professor and a welder. Social status is part of the human condition, but it’s entirely irrational and a total waste of time. It’s usually applied to arbitrary things, like “this job is higher status than that job.” Total incoherent nonsense. Nature doesn’t have anything to say about jobs at all.

    But, the problem with certain types of jobs is that robots will be doing them all soon. If you want everyone to be elevated by technological revolution instead of a horrorscape or Morlocks and Eloi, then we need to spend a lot of years in school. I’m open to radical changes in how things are taught, but if there’s anything to fear in this world, it’s uneducated people with self-esteem.

    1. I am amazed that you can live as long as you have and end up so thoroughly unworldly.

      1. I didn’t have a strong culture growing up. Very casual about holidays, church, death rituals, and such.

        My struggle is empathizing with people who attach so much value to their cultural assumptions. People really, really insist on hanging onto all that crap. It’s the only reason wars are ever fought.

        1. You didn’t have a strong culture OR intellect growing up, it seems

    2. You’re nuts, welders are WAY more valuable than professors.

      1. With respect to welding shit, absolutely.

        Status is a fiction we tell ourselves that we attach to shit that happens in the world. We usually receive these stories direct from the guys who have all that status.

  16. “Education is not a weapon against inequality; it is an engine of inequality” – I love his mind! – AnimeColor

  17. After a little more reading, this guy says a lot of good stuff. “Revolution” is simply the sad demand of the impatient. It never works, is never not violent, and usually ends up with one tyranny replacing another. You want to make big changes without affecting your 401k? You’re gonna have to be more subtle, Marxists.

    His point about genetic differences in intelligence is somewhat misguided, I think, but the overall discussion of education leads to important and fruitful places. Education is far too rigid, far too mired in old assumptions, and the point about social status is spot on.

    It’s not necessarily the case that it’s the human condition to value intelligence and to judge each other on that scale. But if your entire culture spends its entire childhood in a school, that’s going to be the value you adopt. It’s the only competition that matters for at least 13 years of our life. That’s a problem. Education is too meritocratic. Everything is too meritocratic. Nobody can explain what “merit” even is, apart from pure application.

    Credentialing, as much as it contributes to these unnecessary anxieties, may be a necessary evil. How are you gonna choose a doctor? Wait around and see who kills the fewest patients?

    I like everyone having a solid foundation in a broad range of subjects, if for no other reason than that it gives them the opportunity to choose among them when they specialize. If kids fail, however, there should be no stigma attached. There should be compassion and methodology. Much of the time it has to do with poverty.

    Education is a leisure activity. You can’t do it unless you have secure food and shelter. Let’s all, Marxists, neolib scum, and libertarians, unite behind the idea that we must first ensure the provision of basic necessities for all people. See how many problems that doesn’t solve.

    Oh, and charter schools are a big fucking scam by the same evil looters who spent the last 40 years trashing the rest of the public sector for their own profit. Fuck that idea.

    1. How are you going to “ensure the provision of basic necessities for all people” without initiating force?

      1. Use your words with purpose. If you believe in any government at all, you believe in “initiating force,” as you put it. I think it’s not initiating force, but whatever the case, it’s exactly the same thing as your property rights, your courts, your military, and your police. In fact, most of those things entail violence by definition, unlike education and healthcare.

    2. Unfortunately it’s been capitalism and markets that brought more people out of poverty and effectively provided secure food and shelter for more people in history than any other system.

      I think it would be helpful if, when we talk about anti-capitalism, we were more honest about what we’re actually against. Most people are against “corporatism” (although not all as we’ve seen from the direction of this Magazine as of late), not a craftsman building something with his labor and/or providing a service for a the free exchange of capital.


    Criminals who repeatedly targeted an auto shop in Spring Lake, North Carolina by leaving racist graffiti referencing the KKK and Nazis turned out to be two African-American men after the owner caught them on camera.


  19. A third-generation Marxist critiques the contemporary left and discusses what progressives and libertarians might have in common.

  20. In terms of social issues, there is generally a lot of agreement. THe problem is that too many kneejerkers think “cultural marxism” is a real thing, and conflate that with actual Marxism. But Marxists and Libertarians are generally in the same neighborhood when it comes to the legalization of drugs, prostitution, alternative lifestyles, living off the grid, etc. Just because someone is on the Left does not mean they are a Marxist.

    1. You don’t agree with Marxists on social issues. You just think you do because you don’t understand Marxists. You think the way you do about social issues because you think people should be free. Marxists think the way they do about social issues because they see it as a means to destroying the current order and obtaining power. They don’t believe in freedom and seek to substitute one social order for a new and monstrously oppressive one. Thinking you agree with them just makes you another useful idiot.

    2. ” THe problem is that too many kneejerkers think “cultural marxism” is a real thing, and conflate that with actual Marxism.”

      You mean like the actual Marxists who came up with it as a mechanism to compensate for the utter and historical failures of Marx and Engels Marxism?

  21. Turns out to be a very interesting interview, thanks. The anti-capital stuff turns out to be anticlimactic. That’s how it can be with these written teaser-style summaries of these audio pieces.

  22. I found the discussion on the function, and purpose, of public schooling the most interesting — interesting because, while deBoer and Gillespie both “beat around the bush,” neither came right out and stated it:

    The manifest function of public education is… uh.. well, education. But in reality, it’s the manifest function which is most important, and that is, basically, helping all the kids, from differing backgrounds, goals, and expectations, to, quite simply, get along with each other rather than killing other.

    To this end, only a few things are actually essential — you guessed it: the 3Rs. For people to get along, they need a shared language, especially a shared WRITTEN language. And to make sure they aren’t getting ripped off by someone, they need learn to add, subtract, multiply, and be able to figure out what “compound interest” really means.

    Not that other things cannot be taught, but those are the essential skills which public schools need to impart and develop in their students to justify their existence.

    1. duh

      “But in reality, it’s the manifest function which is most important,”

      Should read “latent” function which is most important.

  23. It would be nice if reason were even handed and also gave fawning puff interviews to third generation Nazis. Doing that would at least have the virtue of being honest about the sorts of disgusting people and disgusting ideologies that reason is willing to get into bed with if the staff thinks doing so is “fashionable”.

    Fonzi is a real piece of shit. And so is DeBoer.

  24. The path to libertopia apparently goes through totalitarianism.

    Certainly explains all the closeted and not-so closeted support for Biden around here.

  25. We’ve had this discussion before here, at length, so I won’t rehash it in a long post.

    Yes, there is a branch of Marxism called “libertarian Marxism”. It is mostly utopian in its aims, but it believes that the individual is supreme above the state, and believes that once left alone, people will band together in a process of “mutual aid” and the state will fade away. this is a kind of “pure marxism”– the type that many Marxists saw as a failure in the Soviet/Stalinist version– people like Emma Goldman and the like.

    Unfortunately, being utopian in its aims (and I’m looking at you guys, too Libertarians) is that human nature is tricky and doesn’t work out the way the so-called Libertarian Marxists thing it will. It always goes off the rail with the “shared labor” and “equity” crap which leads to… Stalinism or Maoism. Stalinism and Maoism is what happens when you try libertarian Marxism and it ultimately fails.

    1. If there is any ‘intersection’ between plain (small-el) libertarians and… Marxists, is at least these types of Marxists are the ones that are (in my experience and estimation) pushing back against all the Critical Theories crap, transgender politics and post-modern adaptations of Marx– again because at their core, they believe the individual is supreme and things like CRT are wholly anti-individual ideas.

  26. Oh hey, since we’re on the subject:

    n the run-up to Chloé Zhao’s historic best director win for Nomadland at the 93rd Oscars, Disney began tiptoeing around potential land mines with regard to China, the director’s home country and the studio’s most important international market. “Please note in your ongoing coverage of Nomadland that Chloé Zhao is a Chinese filmmaker,” an executive for Disney-owned Searchlight emailed members of the Hollywood press on March 4. “You may accurately refer to her as Chinese or a Chinese National.”

    A number of news outlets, including The New York Times, had mistakenly referred to Zhao as Asian American, but the bluntness and blanket nature of the proviso was conspicuous. As it would turn out, Disney had abundant reason to be concerned over how the provenance and perceived allegiances of its rising star director, who was also helming the studio’s forthcoming $200 million Marvel tentpole Eternals, were being portrayed to the world.

    For months, the studio had been making clandestine efforts to avoid agitating the Chinese Communist Party when it came to Zhao, who was born and raised in Beijing but attended high school in London and Los Angeles and college in Massachusetts and New York. The simple fact that she now lives in Ojai, California, was certain to irk the CCP and provoke China’s notorious internet ultranationalists, whose M.O. is to aggressively scrutinize any Chinese artist who achieves significant success in the West — searching for hints of disloyalty to the motherland.

  27. I take it libertarians are desperate for friends these days.

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