Friday, January 26, 2018

An Open Letter to Walter Block

NB: I have exchanged with Walter by email on this topic.  I drafted the open letter before receiving a further response from Walter.  I have decided to leave the open letter as is, for background; I will follow with his further response thereafter.
I am confused by your comments in your LRC blog post entitled “Is It Permissible to Criticize Jews?  Technically, it isn’t the comments in the post that confuse me; it is the comments when I consider your other writing.  Let me try to explain…
You are asked the above question – the question that is the title of your post.  You respond:
…I think it is long past time to [criticize Jews]. The major media will jump down the throat of anyone who dares criticize any of the Chosen People. Well, I dare.
This part isn’t confusing to me; I would expect nothing less from you.
You then include an excerpt from the chapter “Defending the anti-Semite,” from your forthcoming “Defending III”:
I have great resentment not only for Zionist Jews, but against virtually ALL Jews. Why? Because most of them are socialists, progressives, communists, liberals, Bernie and Hillary supporters, Democrats, devotees of labor unions; ugh.
This part isn’t confusing to me (well, a little – but I don’t want to distract from my main point); I would expect nothing less from you.
I don’t hate my people because of our common heritage. I hate most (but of course not all) of them since they are leading commies, labor leaders, feminists, lefties.
This part isn’t confusing to me; I would expect nothing less from you.
Walter, forgive the lengthy excerpt, but I think all of this is important so I don’t lose any of your context:
In the 1930s, the then Canadian Prime Minister was asked something to the effect of how many Jewish immigrants to his country from Germany who were fleeing Nazism would he accept. Came the answer: “None is too many.” When I first heard that, I was incensed. Members of my family were killed by Hitler, may his evil name be erased. But upon more sober reflection, I can (almost) empathize with him. Who wants a bunch of commie pinkos besmirching one’s country? Those people, gulp!, my co-religionists, are really despicable people. They want to overturn capitalism, promote social justice and egalitarianism, ride roughshod over private property rights, enrage the masses against the highly accomplished elite, will donate gobs of money to the most left wing politicians available, and all the rest. “You can have them,” I now think, was an eminently sensible initial response to their threatened arrival in Canada (I here abstract from the fact that this decision indirectly lead to the murder of many innocent people). (Emphasis added.)
Walter, I know you and I disagree on libertarian theory and principle regarding open borders and immigration – we each believe we are developing the theory and principle properly.  I also know that we disagree on application: while you personally do not want the United States inundated by millions of people from…well, insert the term Trump allegedly used to describe their countries of origin, you would – right now, today – open the borders of the United States to these same people…immediately. 
You would do this even though we do not have full private property rights – a condition which you agree is necessary to have a truly libertarian policy of open borders.
The Canadian Prime Minister in fact took a position completely in line with the position of one Hans Herman Hoppe – a position which you have stated that you disagree with completely (while acknowledging that you agree with HHH on 99.9% of everything else).
Walter…this is where I am confused.  How can you describe the Canadian Prime Minister’s policy of managing the borders of Canada (in fact, closing the borders to a certain group) as “eminently sensible,” while at the same time you hold the position of open borders, right now, no preconditions?
Can you reconcile this?  How can you be for open borders and managed (or closed) borders at the same time? 
Or, by describing the Prime Minister’s actions as “eminently sensible,” are you saying that your position of open borders, right now, today is eminently un-sensible?
Please, Walter.  Spell this out for me.
Yours sincerely
And this ends my open letter.  I now offer Walter’s response to the earlier email exchange (the exchange forming the basis for this open letter); Walter has given me permission to publicly include his response:

Thanks for pushing me on this. I appreciate it.
Here's the way I see matters. There are three possibilities.
1. Allow all the Jews to settle in Canada in 1939 or so when they arrived by boat. There's plenty of virgin territory there. To prevent their settlement there is to violate the NAP. I take the NAP VERY seriously. For me, it is the libertarian lodestar, compass
Yes, the Canadian Prime Minister should have let them in. The borders have been open as long as there is virgin territory in the country. I only add now, that I full well realize why the Canadians didn't want these Jew commies in their country. But Jew commies, all commies, still have rights; the right to settle in virgin territory.
2. Allow them in temporarily, as an emergency. Keep them in concentration camps (but treated humanely). Then, kick 'em all out when the war is over, or, as soon as they can be expelled to a safe country. Like, maybe in S. America. This is not compatible with libertarianism, but, I think, better from all sorts of points of view than:
3. Do what they actually did, deny them entry to Canada, ship them back to Nazi Germany, to the deaths of many of them.
Best regards,
This is troubling; I don’t know how else to say it.  Walter – knowing that the immigrants bring with them a liberty-destroying philosophy into a land that embraces an equal right to influence government – is willing to allow liberty-destroying immigrants the opportunity to further destroy his liberty – and mine. 
I was recently made aware of the following: “U.S. Immigrants’ Attitudes Toward Libertarian Values.”  It is a paper by a University of California, San Diego, Professor of Psychology – in other words, NOT Hans Hoppe:
Libertarians in the United States have long tended to favor lenient immigration policies, with some going so far as to advocate the notion of “open borders” (Caplan, 2012).  This naturally raises the question: What are immigrants’ attitudes toward libertarian views and libertarian perspectives?  Interestingly, this question does not appear to have been examined empirically.
The results showed a marked pattern of lower support for pro-liberty views among immigrants as compared to US-born residents. These differences were generally statistically significant and sizable, with a few scattered exceptions. With increasing proportions of the US population being foreign-born, low support for libertarian values by foreign-born residents means that the political prospects of libertarian values in the US are likely to diminish over time.
Does embracing libertarianism mean embracing a suicide pact?  If Walter and the open-borders libertarians are correct in their theory, principle and application, the answer is a resounding yes. 
Of course, I believe they are wrong on all three – one cannot deduce “open borders” from libertarian principle.  In other words, libertarians such as these (including Walter) are wrong on libertarian principle.
An addendum to my open letter to Walter:
I know that left-libertarians are culturally and politically suicidal.  Is this really your view as well?  Is the liberty of liberty-destroying immigrants more valuable to you than the liberty of your children and grandchildren?
Do you really believe that destroying liberty is the path to liberty?


  1. "Do you really believe that destroying liberty is the path to liberty?"

    This is the money question to all open border libertarians. How can one claim to support liberty and individual rights while endorsing the importation of peoples who don't share those same values?

    1. Yes, this was on my mind when I wrote the other day about America supposedly being a nation of ideas. It is only true if the people who populate the nation hold the same ideas.

      It would be nice if those ideas trended toward liberty.

  2. >But Jew commies, all commies, still have rights; the right to settle in virgin territory.

    Ah rights of course, because Jews are well known as frontiersman who make homes for themselves by their own sweat and will, they are not known to cluster in urban finnancial/political centers... Where do these "rights" come from exactly? People who by definition do not recognize the property of others as legitimate have these "rights"? Interesting.

    So Walter will admit that a group may be hostile or maladaptive to Northern European cultural norms but you still have to let them in because "rights." What's in it for us? To please Walter's strange god? It seems his whole political philosophy is based on a pseudo-randian notion that you can have a functioning society without any kind of reciprocity or social standards. People can behave as anti-social predators and everything is gravy as long as property rights are somehow justly enforced. They can demand "rights" they don't even recognize for others and interact with people they hate but it will all work out for the best....

    Imo his whole virgin land shtick has always been a bait and switch. The only people who ever really settled virgin land in America were the founding stock (my ancestors). He is manipulating Anglo-Saxon law to justify something that we never would have accepted. You can tell he is insincere by the pains he goes to explain why the Zionist project is justified on "libertarian grounds," when it's impossible for him to make this "virgin territory" argument he just goes to something else because he ultimately supports his co-ethnics and their project.

    1. UC, I struggle with understanding why those who do not live in a country have rights in the country that they do not live in….

      As to the virgin land thing, yes, it is a shtick. I am yet to see immigrants in Europe plant it at the top of the Alps, or in America in the middle of hellhole, Nevada.

      Walter lets his version of perfect theory get in the way of human reality. To paraphrase Rush, he is so full of what is right, he can’t see what is true.

    2. Virgin territory?

      What the hell is he taking about? Is there a 40 acres and a mule program that Canada was offering? Did it require cultivation of the virgin territory? Putting it to productive use? Clearing timber? What.Is.He.Talking.About?

      I agree with UC - it is hocus pocus to avoid giving an honest analysis.

      And bionic points to the other fatal flaw in Block's response. Persons hoping to immigrate to a country don't have all the same "rights" as citizens of the country where they hope to reside. Again, Block has nothing but hocus pocus to offer.

      This kind of reasoning (i.e. completely vacuous) on open borders and his pathetic reasoning on the abortion issue make it impossible for me to read Block's lengthy posts on LRC, no matter how good he might be on some other issue here or there.

    3. "Jews are well known as frontiersman who make homes for themselves by their own sweat and will, they are not known to cluster in urban financial/political centers..."

      Okay now that's funny. I'm imagining Jerry Seinfeld trying to cut down a tree. "Whaat iiiss tha deeal?"

    4. Bionic,

      "Walter lets his version of perfect theory get in the way of human reality."
      This has long been my issue with many of those who espouse Libertarianism. Many of the things these people advocate are only feasible in some ideal fantasy world. One we don't currently inhabit. I have noticed this to be particularly true when discussing immigration and borders. Open borders and unchecked mass immigration might work in a perfect world, but down here in reality, we have to deal with very imperfect people and the inescapable realities of Human Nature. And in this reality, culture and values matter. A lot. You have been preaching this for a long while and you are absolutely correct.

      One of the things that I believe sets you apart from so many Libertarian thinkers and writers, is you have a clear grasp of reality and how the NAP can function in the society we have, not in the society we wish we had.

  3. My issue with those using the NAP to argue for open boarders is those folks fail to realize that the violations of the NAP to the local population have already taken place in the upkeep of the welfare, regulatory and in the case of the USA, warfare states.

    This whole apparatus of the state is particularly nasty against the working poor who not only have to pay for the welfare systems in their own countries that include paying for the wealth handed to immigrants, but they also get stuck with regulation (Minimum Wage and Licensing) that makes their labor less valuable.

  4. Fantastic. I would love to see his response to this.

    I have a challenge for him as well, though I do not share a correspondence with him, but perhaps if you see it as useful, you may choose to use it as an aid to the wonderful argument you've made above. Since Walter is the eminent libertarian wielder of the logic tool known as 'reductio ad absurdem,' I will offer him one:

    If a nation state, called "Libertia," of limited government libertarians (formerly on their way toward transitioning governance into private law societies) operating an open border policy became concerned of growing immigration from a group of people who were expressly and unreservedly communists, and who's stated and open intent as a group was to infiltrate and subvert liberty in Libertia via immigration and democratic constitutional reform over a span of decades, so that they may ultimately 'communize' Libertia and have it annexed and expropriated by their home country, the neighboring 'Tyrannistan,' what should the residents of Libertia do while upholding the principles of liberty if their goal is a prosperous libertarian future and not a communist hellhole?

    Should they maintain an open border policy with Tyrannistan even though the immigrants effects on governance are already being felt in the way of higher taxes and social welfare policies after only a decade of sustained immigration and hope to convince the immigrants of the merits of liberty? Would restricting the borders in this scenario be considered self defense? If yes, where do you draw the line? When does border restriction cease to be in self defense in regards the NAP? Would it make a difference if the 'communization' was in fact what was happening but was never actually a stated intent of any of the immigrants?

    Could Walter Block still hold open borders to be the libertarian position in the face of the mounting dilemma facing Libertia? What would he as a human being, and not just as a libertarian, advise Libertia to do about this situation? Would his advice be different from this perspective?

    1. Walter would open the borders and take his chances. He believes that liberty will come out on top before the hordes do their dirty work. Don’t believe me?

      From Walter: “On a practical level, I still think I can have my cake and eat it too, here. Namely, I predict that it would take less time for us to privatize everything, if we had full power, than for the hordes to descend upon us en masse.”

    2. "What would he as a human being, and not just as a libertarian, advise Libertia to do about this situation? Would his advice be different from this perspective?"

      Perhaps a better question to ask Walter is if it would make any difference if the natives of libertia were Jews, and the immigrants non-Jews.

    3. "... if we had full power"

      What the hell is he taking about? He starts by saying "on a practical level" and then he immediately vaults into pure fantasy, which is nowhere in existence on a practical level. I guess that's what he has to do in order to have his cake and eat it too.

    4. "What the hell is he taking about?"

      The safest thing I can say in response is "I have no earthly idea."

    5. BM,

      You are probably right. He's a button pusher after all. Being a button pusher is one of the few areas I slightly disagree with Murray Rothbard. Liberty needs to grow organically in people's minds so that it approximates a 'sensus fidelium,' or it needs to be taken from those who would keep it from you. Either way it cannot be imposed from on high by a button pusher. Libertarians could learn something from Edmund Burke's prudentialism (though probably not his specific conclusions from it).

  5. This has been a burr on my behind for too long: what is the hoped for additional Libertarian population percentage to the native population?

    It is an insurmountable chase. Sisyphus is thy name.

    Will Block grant these new additions the ability to vote?

    The elderly new arrivals, will they also get social security, medicare, emergency medical services, etc. to be yoked to the native population's taxes?I

    If the answers are no, how do they propose prevent such outcomes. Wishing upon a star?

    If Block and Wenzel like Mexican culture so much, why don't they just move there?

    1. Friday night. I want some of what they are smoking.

  6. I recall reading a statement by Murray Rothbard alluding to public libraries and how they should be treated as if they were private. I asked David Gordon if he could help me find this reference, to which he promptly replied in the affirmative. To wit: What To Do Until Privatization Comes, in Making Economic Sense, pp. 146-150. (Apologies, I don't know how to make a link).

    1. Thank you so much for the link!

      I wanted to further post selected quotes from the specific passage you mention as it's a blistering rebuke of some libertarians and I think important to reflect on:

      "One, which is now predominant in our courts and among left-liberalism, and has been adopted by some libertarians, is that so long as any activity is public, the squalor must be maximized."

      "For example: the government, owner of the public schools, does not have the regular right of any private school owner to kick out incorrigible students"

      "Similarly, in a recent case in New Jersey, the court ruled that public libraries did not have the right to expel bums who were living in the library"

      "libertarians who might be sound in the remote
      reaches of high theory, are so devoid of common sense and out of touch with the concerns of real people (who, for example, walk the streets, use the public libraries, and send their kids to
      public schools) that they unfortunately wind up discrediting both themselves (which is no great loss) and libertarian theory itself.

      What then is the second, and far preferable, theory of how to run government operations, within the goals for cutting the budget and ultimate privatization? Simply, to run it for the
      designed purpose (as a school, a thoroughfare, a library, etc.) as efficiently and in as businesslike a manner as possible. These
      operations will never do as well as when they are finally privatized; but in the meantime, that vast majority of us who live in the real world will have our lives made more tolerable and satisfying."

      I don't think it a stretch to apply that argument to gov't run border controls as well...if we had the ability to establish our own border control I highly doubt most here would be eager to let those with socialist/communist ideals in.(other criteria aside)

    2. There is a parallel between Bionic’s and Block’s difference of opinion about open borders (wherein Block and others advocate open borders right now and damn the consequences, but Bionic believes doing so would be disastrous for current American citizens), and Thomas Sowell’s writings about the consequences of freeing slaves by edict.

      As Thomas Sowell points out in his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, it’s easy to believe in retrospect that freeing slaves by edict in 1863 was the morally correct action, but to do so without consideration of the possible consequences indeed created the disastrous and unnecessary animosity between the races that is still contentious today. On the other hand, if freeing slaves had been done in a more judicious manner, such animosity may well have been avoided, or at the least moderated.

    3. Thanks to David Gordon for supplying this female libertarian with that link.

  7. Sounds like Walter wants his cake and to eat it too. He thinks the untrammeled lands of Canada are open to homesteading but the Canadian government is open to control the lands it has occupied. He just is ignoring the elephant that is the fact that those "unclaimed lands" are still within the border the Canadian government does claim as their own.

    Rights be damned... they'll still tax the newcomers and their newfound homes.

  8. Walter Block may be sound in the remote reaches of high theory, but he seems so devoid of common sense and out of touch with the concerns of real people that, unfortunately, he'll wind up discrediting both himself (no great loss there) and libertarian theory.

    This didn't get past moderation at Mr. Wenzel's site where it was announced that FEE will be publishing "Essays in Honor of Walter Block".

    How long before Block will go the Jeffrey Tucker way, I wonder?

    Kind regs from Amsterdam,

    1. Lol, I too have posted comments here that Wenzel wouldn't post. He is dogmatic in the extreme and also completely out of touch with normal people.

      When your theory fails completely to resonate with people maybe it's not that people are poorly educated (which is admittedly true), maybe your theory just isn't made for real people.

    2. Well, Bob is defending his borders, whether that is undefendable or not.

    3. I stopped reading EPJ and TL after Wenzel or Raymond Nize or whoever he really is made an ass of himself trying to debate Stephan Kinsella and that abysmal lecture at the ASC in 2013. To be very honest, the amount of regard that the good guys give him is, frankly, beyond reason.

      See here:

    4. I was on the Wenzel/Nize bandwagon for a while, and the Kinsella debate was an eye opener.

      I thought that it would be an easy victory for Wenzel because Kinsella advocates for the most extreme position of no IP at all, ever. Wenzel managed to lose the debate by putting forth an even more absurd proposal - that IP last forever, for all eternity. There was heavy implication in Wenzel's words that IP violators should be thrown in prison.

      Later on we learn from Wenzel that IP violators could be executed as punishment by the "victims". If the violator is a child, child rape could be the chosen punishment. The man is a complete kook!

    5. "This didn't get past moderation at Mr. Wenzel's site"

      For whatever it's worth, he did let it through later.

      That being said, I stopped contributing in the comment section there because his "moderating" started to appear intellectually disingenuous.

      I noticed a couple of times my comments, which contained no vulgarity, no personal attacks, or anything of that nature- but simply disagreed with his viewpoints- never made it through his moderating and it dawned on me he wasn't "moderating" based on standards of civility, but instead on the basis of whether the arguments conformed to his viewpoints or not.

      Further, I noticed initially that when he did let opposing argument through all of a sudden one time commentators with distinct names would show up to post contra arguments. After a little digging, I realized the names corresponded with characters from obscure novels he'd previously recommended his readership read.

      It all smacked of intellectual dishonesty and I decided not to waste my time posting comments there anymore as they aren't treated "fairly" in the course of intellectual discussion/debate, unlike here for example.

      I enjoy coming here and being able to rationally discuss viewpoints put forth by a variety of people here in a civil way on topics that would be "verboten" on other sites.

      Wenzel's blog started off in a good way, but my belief is his ego ruined it over time. I don't stop reading people's opinions over one topic, whether it's IP, or even the discussion over killing a child trespasser over the theft of a apple- which I find personally reprehensible, but I want to hear the "why" behind the notion and discuss it.

      Once the discussions become disingenuous (like moderating comments on the basis of killing opposing views) it was for me to disengage.

      It appears I'm not the only one based on the drop in comments on his site. I still read his site, but it's pretty much pointless debating/discussing anything in it's comment section IMO.

    6. Matt

      The Wenzel / Kinsella IP debate played a pretty meaningful role in the development of bionic. In no particular order:

      It got me to thinking about the idea of “property.” One aspect of this is in the concept of “property” itself. There is a view that property must include only physical goods – that to include non-physical goods as property (i.e. “intellectual” property) muddies up the waters so much as to render the NAP meaningless.

      Without rehashing my views, I will just say that thinking through that entire argument opened up an early glimpse for me into the idea of local community, tradition, etc. Like “who are you to say what some group on the other side of the world considers as property?” A nobody, that’s who.

      Second, I didn’t like the path I was taking in engaging in the debate. I will just say: in bionic’s early years and life on other sites (primarily the comment section at The Daily Bell), I was fast and loose with ad hominem attacks. There were aspects of my comments in this IP debate where I fell into this same fallacious method of argument.

      I really didn’t like the way that I handled myself in this conversation and I want to believe that it was a turning point in how I approached an argument. I will not say that I have cleansed myself of using ad hominem attacks, but I try to be careful that on the few occasions when I do so that the use is not fallacious.

      Finally, the tone of the debate between Wenzel and Kinsella has never left me. It so immediately turned nasty. I really didn’t have much experience with either of the two individuals to really understand the source of the aggression. I have since come to learn that one of those two individuals holds this consistently in his nature.

    7. Matt,

      "Later on we learn from Wenzel that IP violators could be executed as punishment by the "victims". If the violator is a child, child rape could be the chosen punishment. The man is a complete kook!"

      I agree. He seems to be giving decent libertarians a bad name. I wonder if that's his intent? If your theory of law legitimates child rape, then it's time to go back to the drawing board.

      My position on IP is that it is better handled in the social realm than in the political. Ostracize and exclude those who plagiarize and blatantly copy the works of others, but no physical violence can be used to restitute the victim of such an offense because that would exceed the principle of reciprocity.

      IP forever and protected by violence is a recipe for sure conflict over scarce physical resources, which as Hoppe would say, is contrary to the very purpose of behavioral norms or laws.

    8. UC,

      "When your theory fails completely to resonate with people maybe it's not that people are poorly educated (which is admittedly true), maybe your theory just isn't made for real people."

      I'm more interested in the truth, i.e. what works, or what is natural, than what is popular. Often what is popular is terribly misguided or un-guided and leads to catastrophe.

      Libertarians often think of history as a war between the evil state and the righteous people (I'm not saying you believe this; this is more a confession of what I used to believe), but it is much more nuanced than that, as I'm sure you know. The people under a state can often be worse than those presiding over them, so we should be careful when our ideas align with those of the crowd.

      I'm not defending Wenzel, who's ideas seem to be very poorly conceived. I'm defending correct and unpopular theory.

    9. Thanks for informing me about this peculiar persona Wenzel/Nize. For some time now, I have been thinking these sites of his to be part of a certain "online infrastructure" (for want of a better term) that's been out there to distort the message of a) Ron Paul b) the Mises Institute. Now at least I know that this man is an impostor.

      Let me tell you where I'm coming from, quite literally, because my morning newspaper is the RonPaulNews .net site. Without it, I would never have stumbled upon this Wenzel character.

      The site is very convenient, since it features all of the LewRockwell sites (incl. the LRC blog and Political Theatre), Mises Wire, the Ron Paul Institute, Tom Woods and hey.. Bionic Mosquito. Normally, I read the Lew Rockwell topics and that'll be it. But every once in a while, I give the other sites a go (with the exception of the Drudge/Infowars/Rand Paul stuff). I always felt that there was something off with the Wenzel sites, as I definitely found out in the short period of trying to pass moderation there. So thank you guys for filling me in. Won't waste any more time on that one.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,

    10. I used to regularly go to Wenzel's websites and found them very good for a time. However, after seeing him defend the killing of a child for stealing an apple in his (Wenzel's) Private Property Society utopia, I found it harder and harder to take him seriously. Lately, I have noticed on his site that he has taken up the banner for open borders. I find his arguments to be very unconvincing and his hostile language to those who prefer some controls on immigration, is completely off-putting. When someone relies on name calling (labeling people as rednecks, deranged trump supporters, etc) I feel they have lost the argument.
      What surprises me the most with RW’s defense of open borders, is its complete detachment from reality. He defends it based on how he wants the world to be, not how the world is. He ignores the innate differences in peoples and nations. He ignores that different countries have different cultures and values, many of which are incompatible with the ideas of liberty and private property. He ignores religious ideology differences as well. He sees what he wants to see and all other opinions be damned!

    11. "The people under a state can often be worse than those presiding over them".

      ATL, an excellent insight. I can think of quite a few nations where the State forces its people to behave in a civilized manner where otherwise they would not.

    12. Huh. I used to read Kinsella's website regularly, a long time ago. I barely remember the Wenzel-Kinsella debate.

    13. Hi Joshua,

      Couldn't agree more. Apparently, his modus operandi is to somehow attach himself to the Mises Institute (like those pesky little fish that you see attached to a whale or something), then figure out what topics are "hot" and then either pick a fight with a well known scholar of the Mises Institute or fervently support one who is himself a nuisance within said organization (as is the case now with the incense waving before his Walter Block statue).

      So now it's open borders for this little sucking fish (that proper English? In Dutch "zuigbaars", remora spec.), who seems to feed off the crumbs that open borderite Block leaves behind.

      He now even has his own in-house "white supremacist" to represent RW's opponents and make sure everything stays focussed on race and not nationhood (preceding the state), family, culture and tradition. You know, the things about which he - like his whale of the week Block - has precious little to contribute.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,

      P.s.: the white supremacist guy even got himself an entire topic on RW's site. To serve as an example, no doubt, of how to deal with these waycists. With the info posted above in mind, I suspect it to be yet another one of RW's sock puppets. Kind of a matryoshka nesting doll thing. You open up the empty RW persona and find all these little sock puppets within ;)

    14. I think this is enough of examining Wenzel. It isn't that I disagree with much of what is written (although I can't say anything about his MO for the last couple of years) - the reasons of my parting ways with him are well-known and have been noted above by others.

      I think it's just time to move on.

  9. Bionic I would like to submit an outline for a research project. Now the British Empire once encompassed 25% of the world including millions of people from Africa, the middle east, China, and India. Native born English were free to travel to the far flung regions of the Empire and vice versa. For instance Gandhi freely traveled from India to London where he became a lawyer. He freely returned to India and then freely traveled to South Africa where he worked with the Dada Abdulla Company ( which freely moved to South Africa from the Middle East under the free immigration policy of the British Empire ??? ). The British Empire serves as a laboratory for studying the effects of open borders on a worldwide scale and comprised of vast numbers of racially, religiously, and ethnically diverse groups.
    1. The 'goal' of the Empire, whether intended or not, seems to have been to Anglicize its peoples, to integrate them into the economically and scientifically superior systems of England.
    2. The Empire seems to have been remarkably successful in this regard. By the late 19th century a large peaceable Muslim population had settled in London. The middle east was looked on as a source of wonder and enchantment. A whole school of painting was dedicated to capturing this aspect of it, later dubbed "Orientalism'.
    3. The Anglicization of the British Empire worked to Anglicize the world much like Hellenism worked to Hellenize the world and the Roman Empire worked to Latininze it.
    4. In contrast to previous empires, the US Empire plays a decisively dis-integrative rather than integrative role in the world. Though the US Empire conquered Iraq and Afghanistan by military conquest, and Albania, El Salvador, Iran, Ukraine, Libya, and Haiti, to name but a few, by coup, it was not at all with the intent to Americanize them. In stark contrast to the free travel characterizing the British Empire, the US Empire is characterized by national securitization and the prisionization of its de facto colonies.
    5. The hostilility of the US Empire toward its de facto colonies is mirrored domestically in its hostility toward its own subjects. In encounters with with government security workers Americans status has been reduced to that of POWs. Absolute obedience is now mandatory on the part of Americans encountering militarized government security workers lest they run the risk of summary execution.
    I invite the criticism (and even welcome the malice) of the Bionic participants with regard to these propositions - the better and the quicker to uncover the facts and get to the truth of the matter.

    1. So go ahead and do your research project. What are you asking me for? Permission?

  10. The problem here is political: it is a matter of citizenship.

    The crucial boundary was citizenship, not the border. Who became a judge in Israel was of far greater concern than who became a resident.

    The main problem, however, is......, but the doctrine of the civil covenant.

    When the immigrant can soon gain access to citizenship, but without any confession of faith other than his promise to obey the law and the Constitution, he thereby gains the authority to participate in the changing of both the law and the Constitution. He can seek to make the law and the Constitution conform to his confession of faith. This is the heart of the matter; this is the heart of the problem.


    1. Max, no one is interested in a biblical form of citizenship. If you asked anyone here whether they would prefer your "judge of Israel" type citizenship or Roman type citizenship, its safe to say almost everyone here would choose the Roman type.

      If you had any original thoughts that didn't originate with Gary North and you have not written elsewhere on this site already, I would be interested to read that.

  11. Bionic - Walter is just plain wrong and there are numerous currently ongoing and historical practical examples of this. I will site a few that I have personal knowledge of:

    * The father of an Idaho friend of mine spends a great deal of his time collecting petition signatures. Why? Because immigrants (from other, more oppressive US states) move to Idaho because of the greater liberty they find there, then turn around and try to make it exactly like what they left back home. My friend's father collects petition signatures to prevent legislation, sponsored by these immigrants, that would make his state more oppressive. And, as the immigrant population increases, his efforts are less and less successful.

    * I have lived in Vermont for almost 20 years now. Calvin Coolidge (a VT native by the way) once said of VT that "If the spirit of Liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont" - a plaque with this quote hangs on the wall inside the VT statehouse. Unfortunately, this can no longer be said of my adopted home. After a large number of disaffected "hippies" moved to VT in the 1980's, the laws have become increasingly oppressive, until now (with some notable exceptions) it's a lot like living in neighboring New York State. Nowadays, VT legislators want to push every new law from New York on their fellow Vermonters. There is some resistance from the natives but the immigrants hold most political offices and are now the majority here - they have also stigmatized the native population, naming them "toothless, ignorant hicks". It had gotten so bad by the time that I moved here that the natives had taken to calling Vermont "The People's Republic".

    The fact of the matter is that most people have their little pet projects that they want to see imposed on everybody else. They are completely unaware that robbing others of liberty in the short run brings about loss of liberty for themselves in the long run. These little pet projects are like a mental poison - combine it with some charismatic sociopath and you get a deadly pandemic of tyranny.

    I agree with some of the other commenters here that Walter seems trapped in some sort of mental libertarian utopia. What he suggests is neither practical or possible in the real world. I think the best we can do is to form communities of like-minded individuals with well-defined property lines and indoctrinate people with and strictly enforce the NAP.

  12. Hello Bionic.
    Thanks for allowing for anonymous comments (although nothing is actually anonymous on the Net).

    Professor Block blogged about his opinion that it is permissible (even necessary) to criticize the Jews in so far as they largely advocate unlibertarian ideas.

    I recommend to everyone here a careful reading of this interview to Thomas Szasz:

    It is very lengthy, but it is very worthwhile. Szasz was a Jew among Jews. He was an immigrant. He helped saving Americans from the damaged caused by coercive psychiatry. He was not a man of the left. He was friends with left libertarians such as Sheldon Richman and radical-center libertarians such as Bryan Caplan (here I use "radical-center" as an antonym of the "moderate-centrism" of Walter Block).

    A long quote from this interview: "My premise is that responsibility is, morally speaking, anterior to liberty. So if a person wants to gain more freedom — in relation to his fears, his wife, his work, etc. — he must first assume more responsibility (than he has been) toward them; then he will gain more liberty in relation to them.
    The goal is to assume more responsibility and therefore gain more liberty and more control over one's own life. The issues or questions for the patient become to what extent is he willing to recognize his evasions of responsibility, often expressed as "symptoms.""

    Bionic asks to Walter Block: "Do you really believe that destroying liberty is the path to liberty?"

    My view: Open borders, even without full property rights, will not destroy liberty. You have yet to realize that human liberty depends on responsibility, and this in turn is what is being destroyed by the State. Immigration restrictions are just one more attack on the development on responsibility by people. If you want to rescue the concept of property you have to be in favor of absolutely unrestricted immigration from anywhere to anywhere, from anyone. People easily adapt to better things, such as a good culture. New Americans will surely show more vitality in defending Liberty than the disheartened natural born citizens of the US. Immigrants will not trade liberty for security because they already know that "security" means abject poverty and injustice. They know that better than us! Immigrants want room to develop their responsibility, and thus earning true liberty. Just the same as anyone else. Respecting human dignity is letting people be what they naturally are: free.

    Is a culture so weak that it may be easily destroyed by illiterate hordes trampled on by decades of socialism worth saving? What if, as Caplan wrote, western civilization is a hardy weed? Why closed-borders libertarians act so maternally towards our culture and our civilization? Man up!

    Liberty is not so weak that it may be killed by a mere eight billion of communists.

    Best wishes to all in your libertarian life!

    1. Mr. Anonymous

      1) Did you not read the results of the survey?

      2) Do you not have a better argument to counter 2000 years of western civilization as the almost singular foundation for a reasonably libertarian society?

      3) As a follow-up to 2) above, do you have a way forward for liberty absent this almost singular foundation?

      4) Does not the real-world example of "open borders without full private property rights" in Germany a couple of summers ago mean anything to your theory?

      5) Do you have examples to offer where reasonably complete open borders was beneficial to the native population? North America, perhaps? Palestine? Germany? Sweden?

      Don't be a typical lalalibertarian and ignore these real-world issues. Don't be a typical anonymous commenter - you may convince me to close my borders to anyone named "anonymous."

    2. Most people are not interested in liberty. They are interested in satisfying their needs as described in Maslow's Hierarchy. People want safety, not liberty; certainty, not truth; conformity, not individuality. If you allow a large group with a cohesive culture into a geographic area, they will try and make that area conform to their culture.

      I must add another open borders example which nobody has brought up yet - the American Indian. The natives of this country had a much more libertarian culture than we have and an extreme open borders policy - and, after the Europeans took advantage of that policy, they first ostracized, then demeaned, then exterminated the native population.

      Open the border and take your chances? No thanks.

    3. Hi Anonymous,

      There is at least one interesting aspect of your comment, and that is the use of psychology or "self-management" or whatever you want to call it, to persuade people that society's ills can and must be cured by "healing thyself" first.

      You do recognize that Thomas Szasz, as a psychiatrist, is discussing quite another kind of liberty compared to liberty envisioned as freeing society from the shackles of the state?

      I have seen more of the same inward looking tendency in recent pleas for taking responsibility for oneself and even self-sacrifice as an antidote to societal chaos. It's especially the last part that I find troubling from a libertarian perspective.

      The use of appeals to psychology - or, as in the case of "clean your own room first" Jordan Peterson, some vague sort of conservative Christianity - with the risk of reducing societal ills (caused by the state) to problems to be managed by self-control.. I don't know.

      Something about this kind of "voyage interieur" (excuse my Dutch here) seems indicative of a move away from a desire to confront and reduce the coercive power of the state in any way possible.

      Just my 2(euro)cts, while they're still worth something..

      Kind regs from Amsterdam,

    4. Richard

      You portray this as “either/or.” Either focusing on reducing “the coercive power of the state in any way possible” or “healing thyself.”


    5. Perhaps he believes that the State is the market's answer to the inability of the individual to control themselves. Control yourself or be controlled.

    6. >Szasz was a Jew among Jews. He was an immigrant. He helped saving Americans from the damaged caused by coercive psychiatry.

      Lol, so helped save Americans from the damage done by his people who created modern psychiatry in the first place. Gee thanks Szasz.

    7. (Sorry, gonna be a bit verbose here. Two-parter coming up)

      Hi BM,

      Yes, I realize that.

      I was thinking of this article on the LewRockwell site:

      Some sentences stuck in my mind, like this one:

      "We no longer need to cling to our collective group identities (race, gender, ethnicity, etc) to shape laws as a tool of vengeance against those we fear and hate. We can instead crucify the monster inside us."

      "Instead.." is that either/or?

      I have become so accustomed to open border political correctness, that I'm a tad bit suspicious when I read things like that in the context of "healing thyself" first. In and of itself a laudable ideal. It's just the way it's being presented, and I'm not sure, but it seems to at least indicate some kind of prioritization (first.. room, then.. society) that I'm not especially fond of in this day & age.

      But I'm the first to grant that it's more of a sneaking suspicion about how these appeals could be used to advance some kind of pacifying agenda.

      Or this one. Not that I'm losing too much sleep over it, but nevertheless:

      "Peterson likes to tell people to clean their rooms before they seek to impose their will on society."

      It's not exactly either/or, I know, but considering circumstances (and I'll get to that in a moment), I not sure about this way of prioritizing things.

      And for the last one that somehow made me a bit uneasy:

      The antidote for chaos is to love your neighbor.

      Now, the circumstances.. In my native country right here and now, they are not particularly favourable for such laudable gestures of self-sacrifice. In a society with a basic understanding of (post)Christian principles, yes, this might resonate and ring true. But to Peterson I'd like to point out that we're way past that kind of society here in Holland (or Germany, or Sweden).

      The point is of course how to get (back) there, or at least turn the tide. Kind of like the reality check to be asked from people like Block when they presuppose a private property society and talk lofty principle.


    8. (Continued, halfway there..)

      Yes, I'm of course talking about the forced association as a result of the open border policies that our overlords have pursued for decades now. Here in Holland/Netherlands/Woodenshoesland the disastrous results have become obvious much faster than they would ever be in the US. My neighbor will increasingly be someone who is hostile to the values that Mr. Peterson (and I myself for that matter) professes to hold so dear. As time passes, and more pass our barely existent borders, that same neighbor is becoming more openly hostile, acting accordingly.

      In those circumstances, I'm not one for recommending people to first "clean their own rooms," for it could very well take a great many of them the rest of their lives. So again, given these circumstances, I've heard just about enough politicians, college professors and our very own Queen (Maxima) on top of that pontificating about "giving up our group identity" as a Dutch nation, so I tend to see beforehand where discourse like the sacrifice-your-past-identity speak from the first quote might lead to.

      Also not particularly fond of the Stoic undercurrent in these appeals, i.e. that cruelty and injustice (and we'll sure get our fair share of that) afford the sufferer the best opportunities for the exercise of virtue.

      So in an attempt to get some clarity and perhaps ease my suspicious mind a bit, I asked the author of the article his opinion on the Just War doctrine of the Church. Just to know if maybe I've got some kind of virtuous, fanatic Tolstoyan pacifist on my hands here. I'll just wait and see.

      Since I'm already using an awful lot of words, another one by Bertrand Russell might add some weight to my imprecise musings:

      Well, I'd have to look that one up. Had something to do with trends in philosophy reflecting society as a whole. As BR would have it, in periods of societal decay the trend in philosophy would be "inward", focussing more on things like self-control/sacrifice. Anyways..

      So if possible, I'd be very much in favor of both, but that's not what I'm hearing from people like Peterson and authors who use his work to possibly advance a "Love Your Neighbor"-first agenda, while over here we're being crowded out by state-sponsored enemies of Western Civ. And while I seek to limit the damage done to our centuries old culture to the best of my abilities, I know many of my countrymen won't mind if I leave my own room a bit untidy for the moment. A matter of priorities, I guess, is what it boils down to.

      All this given the circumstances of course. I know I'm talking from a distinctly Dutch perspective here and times are tough with worse in sight. Perhaps even someone like Walter Block might descend from the remote reaches of high libertarian theory after a harsh reality check in this tiny nation, half of which was reclaimed from the sea, so that part at least is undisputedly "ours" and in sound libertarian fashion mixed with the labor of my ancestors ;)

      [/Dutch aboriginal rant]

      All the best from Amsterdam,

    9. Richard,

      I think perhaps you're being a bit too sensitive in regards to Jordan Peterson. He seems to genuinely be a force for good and reason. He generally disdains the left, and in his 12 principles for conservatives, one of them is that borders are reasonable.

      Fixing yourself, is a good way of properly sizing up who your enemies are, without your perception of them being distorted by the projections of your own psychic darkness or shadow. In other words, often the monster we see in others is the neglected monster in ourselves, and we can only see the true image of others once we've faced this inner demon.

      Sometimes, however, people can truly be monsters, and often these are precisely the types who ignore their inner shadow, and consequently it is reflected back at them in all those they persecute or exterminate.

      Christians call it original sin and psychologists call it the inner shadow. Both describe the same phenomenon of the inner capacity for evil residing within each of our subconscious that must be recognized and reconciled by our ego or conscious will.

      I think what Peterson is saying essentially is that when we focus too much on external problems we neglect internal problems, and we become imbalanced. Once imbalanced, we run the risk of ourselves becoming a part of the external problems we sought to rectify. This insight, like many others of Peterson's comes from Carl Jung. According to Jung, we must each fix ourselves psychologically as individuals before we have any hope of fixing the neurosis of society as a whole. I don't think there is any way around this. Societal salvation beings with individual salvation.

      But I don't think this means we have to accept an open border policy or tolerate the cultures of all others as our neighbors, even as they work to destroy our own. It just means we need to right our own ship before we criticize the sinking ships of others.

    10. "Just War doctrine of the Church."

      That is a Roman Catholic heresy that was created to justify the Church Militant point of view that Christ will not rule on the earth for the Kingdom of God to commence, but rather via the Pope, his Jesuit soldiers and common parishioners will slaughter/evangelize the unwashed masses until the entire planet is full of Christians. Once that is done Jesus will come back to the earth, have one giant circle jerk with the Pontiff and RCC Superstars, give them a thumbs up and usher in the New Heaven & New Earth. This is why since the Crusades any countries that are filled with Catholics will find their most bloodthirsty killers claiming membership in an agency that's supposed to represent the "turn the other cheek", Prince of Peace.

      The root problem is that they believe they have replaced the Jews Levitical Priesthood which was a not war shy crew when defending the geographical boundaries of ancient Israel/Judah. The RCC has since incorrectly morphed that defunct agency's manifestos into their own pathology and extended it to the ends of the earth. As bad as the Levities were, they never created a Jesuit Order to subvert every kingdom on earth (that would come later after the Diaspora).

    11. Hi ATL (Texas),

      Perhaps you're right about Peterson, but as I said, it's not about this man as a person but rather how ideas like his serve to mix up priorities.

      This is not about societal salvation, at least not over here in Holland (and other European nations). It's about societal survival. What happened to "first things first"? Therefore: first survival, then clean up room (or inner salvation, self-control, et cetera). Of course, on a personal level (too uninteresting to discuss) it is never "either/or", and most people I know have more than enough self-control to function pretty decently. More of that is not the issue here. We need to stand up to the powers that flood this nation (woodenshoesland) with enemies.

      As far as Jung is concerned, he's a perfect illustration of the "voyage interieur" problem I've tried to explain. Perhaps even worse than Peterson, he even requires it as a precondition. Anyway, I take his work even less seriously than Freud, who at least was a far better writer (but also a pseudo-scientific impostor, coke addict and a charlatan). I've read both in their native language (German is quite easy for us Dutchies) and the only things slightly worthwhile are some of Freud's sociological observations (e.g.: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur). Carl Jung was simply a guru.

      Hi TL (Thomas),

      "Roman Catholic heresy," that's a good one. In an aside of one or two sentences, I'm only trying to make a point about the danger of radical pacifism (Tolstoyism), and you get all triggered and worked up? Your anti-catholic bigotry really shines in the rest of your comment, so I'll leave it at that.
      From a historical standpoint, let me tell you that it took quite some time (and a fair dose of mental gymnastics by eminent medieval scholars) to come up with a doctrine that justified taking up arms against the Islamic threat (732-1682) to Europe.

      So to get back to perhaps a more fruitful discussion, let me sum up my general point: "Heal-Thyself-First" might not be a good idea when it lessens the desire to combat centralized power (govt.) and defend our nation's borders. Even a shift in priorities - considering state enforced open borders - can in this regard be harmful to the survival of our different nations (in Europe).

      All the best from Amsterdam,

    12. Richard

      A few random thoughts / reactions:

      It is interesting that Peterson has earned the ire of the libertarian left, whereas what concerns you about Peterson is music to the ears of the libertarian left.

      I do not claim to understanding if Peterson himself has any underlying sinister motives – he seems a most sincere gentleman, but I guess this doesn’t preclude that his views might lead to further calamity. However, I will say that I do not see it this way.

      While he will speak of the risks of both left and right extremism, it is not for nothing that his focus is on left-extremism (communism), his biggest critics are on the left (look at the loonies that scream him down).

      He might be doing more to place meat on the bones of Christian tradition than any “preacher” with an equivalent audience.

      He certainly advocates saving and building upon the best of western tradition.

      He seems to hold to the very Canadian (Toronto-an?) attitude towards immigrants – or at least does not speak out against such policies.

      Finally, at least in some areas Peterson calls for reducing the coercive power of the state while at the same time advocating that we each heal ourselves: he sure doesn’t like that the state is compelling speech!

      It seems to me that these are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

    13. Hi BM,

      Some very interesting interpretations. Hope I can measure up.

      "What concerns you about Peterson is music to the ears of the libertarian left."

      Sorry, I don't follow. So if you find the time to elaborate, I'm all ears. I want to defend the borders of my nation and my concern is that pleas to "Turn Inward First", might not be helpful. Wanting to defend one's borders sure will guarantee a lot of trouble with the left (and "right") over here so that's a draw with Peterson for me then ;)
      Anyway, leftist anger is always nice but not necessarily indicative of a strong case or argument.

      Concerning motives. Wasn't talking about Peterson's motives, but my thoughts were rather imprecise. Sorry for that. Was talking about the possible societal effect of pleas like that (prioritization etc.). His motives are probably good, I can't say. As far as the writer of said article (interview with P.), I posed him a Q about the Just War doctrine (already got me a strong response by an anti-Catholic bigot over here), to perhaps learn something about his motives, yes.

      Then the meat on the bones of Christian tradition. That's quite another issue. As far as I know, the Pelagian outlook of Peterson's secular "Christianity" rather takes meat off the bones of Christian tradition. I reckon from the standpoint of tradition, he wouldn't even be considered a proper heretic. Interesting in its own right, so perhaps some other time?

      I honestly don't know what a Canadian (Torontist?) attitude towards immigrants entails. Nor do I get the impression that the man's fame is all about his stance on open borders (our concern here). It's mainly about free speech. Fine in its own right, but again, I'd like us over here to survive as a nation, and free speech in that regard is really a minority interest (Ralph Raico on J.S. Mill and "free speech" might be an interesting aside here).

      Like yourself, I also don't like the fact that the state is compelling speech, but before I "clean my own room" and go out to fight a bunch of SJW's on US campuses or like-minded MSM presstitutes (P's claim to fame), I'd rather give nationhood center stage. All this man is doing is fine, but later, not "first".

      In the US, all of this might not be mutually exclusive. But this is not the US over here (well, in some respects it already is, sad to say).

      Thank you for your thoughts BM, appreciate it.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,

    14. “…if you find the time to elaborate, I'm all ears.”

      You seem concerned that there is the possibility that Peterson is offering a distraction from concerns about “race, gender, ethnicity” by his view of “clean up your own room.” Yet, the libertarian left (and left in general) – that has shown disdain for Peterson – also wants you not concerned about “race, gender, ethnicity.” In other words: what you are concerned about should be music to the ears of the libertarian left – yet they also are “against” Peterson (and I recognize this might be too strong a term for your view) – he has, apparently, made enemies of both the left and the right (and forgive my broad generalization).

      I think for the rest…we can each take (or not) what we each find of value from Peterson and place it where we each believe it to belong on our individual, subjective, value scale. I do agree that his views aren’t “everything,” but they are truly something… as I now properly (I believe) understand that it is no longer an “either / or” for you, is seems we can each place Peterson where we will and still remain friends!

    15. Hi BM,

      I say amen to your conclusion.

      And I think.. I understand about the concern thing now. I think you're incorrect in two ways. If "concern about" were the issue, then my concerns could be made to appear in alignment with those of the left, only with a fair dose of, I don't know.. semantic elasticity? Apples and oranges.

      More importantly, my point isn't that I want someone like him to focus on "race, gender and ethnicity". I don't care about the subject matter he addresses. Perhaps I didn't make that clear enough. My beef is with the possible effect on society of widespread pleas like these which might tip the balance towards societal inaction (and therapeutic babbling/arguing with SJWs on US campuses), is all.

      As an aside, before I'll leave this media phenomenon be, I have to pick you up on the matter of compelled speech, because freedom of expression sure seems this man's forte. Or seemed, rather, before he failed quite miserably by uninviting a certain journalist by the name of Faith Goldy from a Free Speech event.

      So another couple of words spent on the behavior of a sudden media star, while I'm trying to convey that I'm really not interested in the person, but in the social phenomenon that he represents (if it isn't all staged). Really not good at this, I'm afraid, as a non-native speaker. So let's move on indeed. Hope to see you after the doldrums.

      Take care,