Friday, February 8, 2019

The Libertarian Red Line


Red Line: a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.

The subject of abortion has received some attention lately, what with laws in New York and Virginia and governors celebrating the furthering of liberty to murder human beings.

It is a curious topic among libertarians, a situation where the question of which human has property rights in the womb – the mother or the unborn child.  If it is the unborn child, the mother is inconvenienced for nine-months; if it is the mother, the unborn child is inconvenienced for (usually) not nearly as long…but much more permanently. 

I have addressed this as a property rights issue in the past, merely for the sake of argument; the unborn child has the rights to the womb for the natural term of the pregnancy.  However, my fundamental view is grounded in the reality that the unborn child is a human being.

Why do I label it a “curious” topic?  By this, I don’t mean to trivialize it.  I find it curious that a portion of those who claim to adhere to non-aggression consider as acceptable the murdering another human being.  Specifically, in the case of abortion: murdering the only innocent individual in the situation; murdering the one individual in the situation least capable of defending himself.

Certainly for any libertarian who bases his concept of rights in the natural law, it is quite an inconsistency in thought.  There is no liberty at the end of this road.  If a principle of non-aggression cannot see its way clear on the aggression of abortion, it is a theory that cannot stand against any aggression. 

Andrew Napolitano has written a piece addressing the current issue.  He offers a couple of concluding statements which well-capture my view on this matter:

No society that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted can long survive.

I would also say that no political theory based on non-aggression that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted has any claim of legitimacy.

No society that defines away personhood has any claim to knowing right from wrong.

I would also say that no political theory based on non-aggression and defines away personhood has anything worth listening to when it comes the right and wrong of crossing the line of aggression.

Fortunately, libertarian theory cannot be used as a crutch to support abortion; both on property rights and on murdering of innocents, libertarian theory supports the unborn child.  Unfortunately, libertarians generally claim that the theory is supportive of abortion. 

I will suggest that those that do cannot hold claim to the label of non-aggression.  They make a mockery of both the term and of libertarianism.

48 comments:

  1. "No society that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted can long survive."

    Unfortunately, long in the above sentence can be many lifetimes in length. The US has thrived for more than a hundred years killing unwanted persons all over the world. So too, the British empire before it. I would replace "survive" in his sentence above with "remain free".

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    1. Fair enough, but I think it might depend on what one means by "society" and "survive."

      A society that was once free but is no longer: has that original society survived?

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    2. "A society that was once free but is no longer: has that original society survived?"

      Good point, but that means the society that avoided killing unwanted persons must have died a very long time ago, and we're living in the one that does kill them. Which is the longer lasting society?

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    3. Jeff, my context is in the west. If we include "war" in this discussion of killing unwanted persons, then such a society lasted since the beginning of time. If we include the atrocities committed by countries of the west against colonies, etc., then you could say 400 - 500 years.

      If we are to say against their own citizens, I would say this has been about 100 years in Europe, and 150 years in the US. Prior to this, war was fought primarily among and between the combatants; after this, the entire population of the enemy became "unwanted," and not just the military of the enemy.

      One could say that such killing was not done among and between western powers since the fall of Rome or shortly thereafter - again, not to say that there weren't wars, but that the wars for the most part excluded the civilian population.

      Now, as to abortion...an average of about a million per year since 1970 in the US; in Europe, about 30% of pregnancies end in abortion. Absent war, has such slaughter occurred at any time in the west prior to this?

      The west has only had a few decades' practice at this; it really hasn't been that long in the grand sweep of western history.

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    4. The scale has certainly increased, but the technology that made targeting civilians in war advantageous or large scale abortions "practical" didn't exist previously. I don't expect an end to either practive in the foreseeable future baring new technology that makes them obsolete.

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    5. Jeff, prior to Lincoln the technology did exist to target civilians. Lincoln didn't invent fire used to burn crops, buildings, etc.

      During much of medieval Europe, war was a matter for the combatants, not the general population.

      It has been quite some time since I wrote on a book by FJP Veale, but you might find worthwhile my posts on his book. These can be found in the tab "Bibliography."

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/p/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none_30.html

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    6. Thanks BM, I will take a look.

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  2. Dave Smith had a good analogy in disagreement with the evictionist stance.

    Think of a couple who decide they want to enjoy a nice meal together at a fancy restaurant. They get a table, have drinks, eat to their hearts content. Then the bill comes. In their minds it is just too high a price to pay. So they sneak out before the waiter returns for payment.

    Did they do right? Any philosophy that can justify that action is deficient and immoral. There is a way, a custom in which that situation is supposed to play out. When you walk in that restaurant and drink the drinks and eat the food, you are accepting implicitly a responsibility. The couple didn't use force or aggression against anybody in this analogy, but they are still wrong. Yes it is theft of a sort, but it relates to abortion based on the responsibility aspect.

    No analogy is perfect. But I thought that was an insightful one from a libertarian comedian who has very recently come to view abortion as killing.

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  3. I struggled with the property rights position for years.
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  4. A bona fide Libertarian is first and foremost non-violent. This does not imply cowardice or detatchment, rather discrimination of the highest order. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the defense of the helpless unborn and newly born.

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    1. Where has it been said that libertarians are against violence? Libertarian theory is nothing if not a theory of the just use of violence.

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  5. Utilitarian morality has superseded deontic morality. That's the problem. Blame the Greatest Generation. Their Good War laid the foundation to the homicidal humanitarianism now besetting us.

    Truman did a good thing. If he had not dropped the Bomb, the U.S. would have had no choice but to invade mainland Japan. That would've meant more dead Japanese civilians and more dead American soldiers. Truman saved lives!

    It's not as if he could have entered into a negotiated surrender with Japan. A Benevolent Hegemon has no business regressing to the standards of Christian monarchs of the "Dark Ages"! Besides, it's not as if there's something intrinsically evil about targeting civilians.

    Baby-killing is--dare I use the word?--*child's* play against the backdrop of Great Game politics. If we can shrug off and even celebrate World War II levels of civilian casualties, what's a little infanticide between friends?

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    1. One million per year average in the US since 1970; over 50 million per year world wide.

      Makes the wars of the last century look like child's play.

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    2. Pretty sick that mothers have ended as many lives as armies in the last 50 years.

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  6. Thanks for writing this. I can't read Walter Block or Murray Rothbard because of the Olympic level intellectual gymnastics they perform to explain the evil evictionism theory. If they can be so wrong about murdering children, then nothing they have to say about violence and non-aggression holds any weight. Their opinions on anything involving non-aggression are akin to Dr.Joseph Mengele's opinions on treating the severely malnourished. Zero credibility.

    You are right, and you are a good human being. I hope this post gets read far and wide.

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    1. Thank you, Rod.

      Regarding Rothbard, he pulled together a half-dozen disciplines to form what we know as libertarianism. I don't begrudge him because he was something less than perfect - for all I know, he would have read something of mine on abortion and concluded that he was wrong and I was right.

      :-)

      As to Block, he still has time to mend his ways.

      ;-()

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    2. If I read "eviction" theory correctly, it's OK to remove the fetus, or even the embryo, with the stipulation that it may not be killed in the process, and that said fetus will be tenderly cared for by other means. If I'm right, Prof. Block shouldn't be faulted for devising such a scheme, even if highly theoretical.

      But saying that, such a scheme looks to be beyond the means of nearly all pregnant women, rendering "evictionism" a pipedream.

      If my above interpretation of “eviction” is correct, I have no objection to the theory itself, but it begs the question for libertarians, since if abortion is murder, and how can it be otherwise, the woman and her abortionist are murderers, and must be dealt with as such. How will a libertarian world enforce "evictionism," as opposed to abortion, and how will it punish those who choose to abort? As Jordan Peterson remarked, "it's complicated." Peg

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    3. I can't imagine too many of us who oppose abortion want to punish the mother. I know I don't. But why not, if abortion really ends the life of a miniature human being? It *is* complicated.

      I see the optimum solution lying in Hoppe's covenant communities. Punishment in a conservative community would most likely take the form of expulsion for the abortionist. In stricter communities, perhaps the mother and any other accessory to the crime, including the father, would likewise be expelled. They may even face fines or imprisonment. The terms would be spelled out in the homeowner's agreement.

      No doubt competing covenant communities would arise permitting "choice." The rest of us would have to learn to live with that reality. I mean, we've had to live with the reality of state-enforced abortion in the People's Republic of China all these years, haven't we? How poorly does a "pro-choice" covenant community fare against that backdrop?

      At some point, we just have to leave some judgments in the hands of God. I know this sounds like I'm throwing my hands up in the air. Maybe I am. But, aside from lighting a candle in my small corner of the world, I don't know what else I can do.

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    4. "for all I know, he would have read something of mine on abortion and concluded that he was wrong" - BM

      That was certainly in his character to admit of superior arguments. Like the issue of the environment (though he has written on this too), I think he was just not all that interested in the issue of children, having had none himself. I think he had the moral resources necessary and the right fellow travelers (paleocons and libertarian Catholics) to guide him to the right conclusion if he had lived a bit longer.

      I would love to get his opinion on some of the topics you raise here. I would venture a guess he'd be a big supporter of you.

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    5. Peg,

      I think it is complicated as well. I don't support abortion, but I don't support treating it the same as murder in terms of punishment either, though I don't have a very good argument for the latter.

      Maybe a social punishment would be appropriate? Excommunication for the unrepentant and penance and forgiveness of those who can recognize that what they did was wrong? Maybe it's just the Christian in me, but I feel a strong urge to forgive women who've had an abortion early in life and regret it, or at least feel what they did was wrong. I don't think I can forgive women who fanatically make abortion their 'hill to die on' so to speak, their most important tenet of 'women's rights'.

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    6. "...how will it punish those who choose to abort?"

      Peg, I have no good answer. I think dealing with this requires a very holistic approach, beginning with moral teaching by the church.

      I also think that any punishment must consider the father and not only the mother (the doctor, of course, in all cases). What is the man doing getting a woman pregnant - a woman who obviously is not certain that she wants to carry to term?

      He holds responsibility here as well - even if he says he doesn't want the abortion - he should have known the woman well enough to know her views on this matter before he got her pregnant.

      When shooting a firearm, one is always taught to be sure he knows what is behind the target - he is liable for any damage inflicted; he cannot claim ignorance. I think the same theory applies here, when the man is shooting bullets of a different type.

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    7. "I would love to get his opinion on some of the topics you raise here. I would venture a guess he'd be a big supporter of you."

      I have heard from someone who would know that this would be quite the case - whether to agree or disagree on any specific topic.

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    8. We can look to our perverse government for causing so much misunderstanding and teeth gnashing around abortion.

      Roe vs. Wade was a mistake. At least in my limited knowledge of that law. After all, women have been voluntarily aborting for millennia, but surely not in the numbers that have been encouraged, even applauded, in the U.S. And now, with pregnancy preventive measures so easily available, there is simply no excuse to use abortion as a method of birth control. Abortion is a moral failing, and historically was looked upon as such. If government wasn’t so actively promoting abortion, the numbers would likely have never risen to the extent they have.

      Abortion was once treated as the reprehensible act it is, and women wouldn’t be so willing to utilize it as a first line of birth control, but rather would not only be more cautious with whom they fraternize, but also would make use of alternative methods so easily accessible to anyone.

      Saying the male should be cognizant of his own willingness to fraternize may be a nice thought, but it flies in the face of biology. Males gotta have it, and women often do too. So, parents, mind your young daughters and don’t throw them to the wolves, so to speak. Perhaps chaperones, at least for the young, were not such a bad idea. Peg

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    9. "...but it flies in the face of biology."

      Biology doesn't absolve one from responsibility.

      As to your comment re government and abortion, these are good points; one more example of government doing what it can to destroy culture and tradition.

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    10. “Biology doesn't absolve one from responsibility.”

      I didn’t mean to imply that it did, at least not in any “civilized” society, so mea culpa if my meaning wasn’t clear. I meant to say that the drive to procreate is powerful, and also powerful is the will to take the path of least resistance. These two together are survival traits, and work in opposition to taking responsibility, which probably isn’t as urgent to survival as the previous two. Peg

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  7. Sure, it is a property issue.

    But more parsimonious to say these abortionists can’t count. It is two. Not just one pregnant woman. It's a babe, not Schrodinger's cat.

    And since most of these people can count otherwise, the parsimony reduces to sauce dishonest. Just as it usually does in all libido dominandi domains – which is all of ‘em when it comes to a lot of people.

    Look around. People as property, even after slip-slidin’ away from wombs, is the norm.

    The natural law is the jungle. Between those that love the jungle, & those whose every move is dictated by social proof, property, let alone 1+1=2 doesn’t stand a chance. And it never has.

    What if you do not return to us?

    If it's a boy, call him Robert.

    If a lass, name her for my love... Mary McGregor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dyPgmktDO8

    Blake was right. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.”

    Redlines can be exceeded because that excess addresses, solves, ‘more than enough’ – which is to say “too much.” But redlines can be exceeded because wisdom is an impossibility. Expecting civility from the jungle is not wise.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96Jhy_zrpYs

    “Society” is a ruse, let alone pluralizing it. People are people whichever side of this or that temporal or geographical cosmetic line you happen to be. Active & passive killing is always on.

    Politics is war – aggression --by other means (Clausewitz?). Political non-aggression is an oxymoron, at best an illegitimate theory. But really, not even a theory.

    Saw where Bundy’s shrink pinned dx on Teddy boy discovering “unknown” typed on the birth certificate line identifying his father. Illegitimacy blew Bundy’s gasket said the shrinkwrapper. Power of words is a given in those given over to it. But Bundy denied the effect & I doubt it too. Libido dominandi...how strong’s the compulsion?

    Libertariansymanticizing is an obviously strong compulsion in some, too. Blocks clock takes a licking but just keeps on ticking. He made it outta’ the starting blocks...only to become a NIMBY. The kid on his grass is his to kill. Somebody block & tackle the guy, tell him he doesn’t have to hit it from back there...that babies ain’t golf balls to be gamed. Or that just cuz he’s Walter doesn’t mean he’s gotta’ Mitty(gate babies).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_33MzgnBG0&t=17s

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  8. It appears to me that the anti-abortions rhetoric always begins by assuming that the unborn has the same rights as the mother, but that seems very debatable to me. I do not recognize the right of one person to occupy another. We can declare such a right - and enforce such laws, but I then see a woman who is being forced by her neighbors to endure something she does not wish to endure.

    My own position is that I am opposed to abortion and I am also opposed to doing anything forceful to stop it. As for the enormous numbers of abortions, government is subsidizing them and also preventing a free market in adoptions. Were these two evils eliminated, I am sure there would be far fewer. A fetus developing without a brain does happen. Labeling it a person and calling it's termination "murder" so as to win a rhetorical war seems unreasonable to me.

    Abortion is not always wrong and not always right. It is a judgement call and I do not recognize anyone's right to make that call for everyone else base on some sort of "principle". Libertarians are right to allow abortion. They would be wrong to encourage it.

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    1. Debride-able, obviously. Debatable, no.

      Rule proving exceptions aside, start at the beginning, else beget those redheaded stepchildren known as false conclusions.

      Human reproductive biology is 100% occupancy 100% of the time, whether recognized by people who have mistaken that for Motel 6, or the Overlook Hotel (redrum, redrum), or not.

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    2. John, if you want to make it a property rights issue, please read this and then make your points:

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2014/12/libertarians-and-abortion.html

      "...I then see a woman who is being forced by her neighbors to endure something she does not wish to endure."

      Let me get this straight: a woman voluntarily takes an action that comes with a known consequence and then decides she does not wish to endure that consequence (by the way, there was a man involved in this also that doesn't get off free).

      An interesting society in which you want to live. No one is responsible for anything taken by free, voluntary choice. Good luck with that.

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  9. In 'A Modest Proposal', Jonathan Swift satirically called for the poor Irish to sell their babies as fare to the wealthy gentry. As libertarians we can still have faith in Swifts Proposal provided we subject it to the modification that the babies are to be purchased exclusively to serve as additions to the family rather than additional fare. So modified the 'proposal' becomes the essence of the market solution: anti-abortionists bid up the price of an unborn baby high enough to compel the mother to deliver rather than abort. Now according to Wikipedia 80% of abortions are motivated by financial concerns. In a free market anarchocapitalist society, people would already be many times wealthier than they are now, ten times wealthier by some estimates. That removes most motivation right there. As well, a hugely wealthier society would be able to buy up those remaining babies still under the gun.

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    1. Victor, I think this is a place where churches should be doing heavy lifting even today. If Christians are so concerned about abortion (as they rightly should be), step up to the plate. Fund counseling centers, support adoption by the members, etc.

      Instead many just yap about electing republicans and getting conservative judges. These will never change the abortion dynamic.

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    2. Absolutely. The medieval Catholic church had its many almshouses for the vigorously poor funded by the more affluent in the community. I wonder if charity was not a much more significant part of peoples lives during the medieval era. Foucault tells us that in medieval Catholicism greed was the cardinal sin. In the modern Protestant period the cardinal sin is sloth. As well the modern state has expropriated charity from its former private institutions just as it has replaced the church as the administrator of society. Perhaps modern morality has become harsher and less charitable toward those in need all the while government regulation and taxation has made it more difficult to extend charity.

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    3. Check it out, Hungary is now paying people to have babies. Have four or more and never pay income tax again. Perfect ! https://russia-insider.com/en/have-4-babies-pay-no-income-tax-life-hungarian-pm-viktor-orban/ri26197

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  10. "...but I then see a woman who is being forced by her neighbors to endure something she does not wish to endure."

    Does this change after birth, or does this logic condone infanticide as well?

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  11. Community A engages in abortion. Community B doesn't. If you're not forced to associate with Community A, why are you wasting your time concerning yourself with a community that destroys it's own?

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    1. Maybe because human life is precious? Kind of like why worry about the millions killed by western governments in foreign lands - is it really just a question of wishing the government didn't spend the money?

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  12. I agree with your closing statement that supporting abortion makes a mockery of the NAP and libertarianism. However, I disagree with the property rights to the womb you assign to the unborn child. I feel confident that there is a moral resolution to abortion for libertarians and that is: Eviction.

    It guarantees a situation where no aggression has been used against either the child or mother (but you may not like my conclusion). Dr. Walter Block put the idea in my head (if you search Block and abortion you will find a couple of videos) and I’ve elaborated his point over the years and feel satisfied with what I’ve come up with.

    1) A fertilized egg (FE) is a human being. Sperm and eggs are not human beings. The instant the ‘magic’ happens, and the egg is fertilized, then I think we must not regard it any differently than an adult. This immediately forbids genetic tampering after fertilization. This seems to permit genetic tinkering with sperm and eggs *before* fertilization, but not after.

    2) As a human being, the FE cannot have a right to the mother’s body, just as I don’t have a right to your body. At the same time, the mother does not have a right to do with the FE as she pleases. So how to solve this? Eviction.

    3) Both child (at any developmental stage) and mother remain sovereign and free of abuse and aggression toward one another at all times. If the mother comes to regard the child as unwanted, much like a house guest, it would violate the NAP for her to then murder the tenant or guest. The solution, simply, would be for the child to be removed in tact. In the first few days, weeks, or months, what is removed (at current scientific advancement) is not viable and so would perish. But I think it is important that it perishes naturally instead of being poisoned. It is in the later stages of development where this solution might become more unpalatable but I think its fidelity to the NAP is more humane and acceptable than twisting off limbs. An 8-month old child would also be removed in tact and placed on a table or incubator or really anywhere quite frankly. This child, too, if undesired by any party in attendance, would perish naturally where it lies. It is my hope that the pathetic cries of the helpless child will attract sympathy from doctors or nurses or even the mother and give the child that last shot at survival.

    The evicted child has a chance to survive, the murdered child does not. Terminate the pregnancy, not the child. I would be happy to discuss this with you further if interested.

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    1. Matt, you are not breaking news here. Had you linked to what I had in the above you would have found that I addressed Block long ago. However, I like this link better:

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2014/12/libertarians-and-abortion.html

      A landlord has no grounds to evict a tenant that is abiding by the lease.

      I would be happy to discuss this with you further if you demonstrate your interest by reading what I have already presented.

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    2. As to your "perishing naturally" nonsense, you give yourself away as a fan of murdering a human being. You make a mockery of your opening sentence.

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    3. A landlord would have grounds to evict a tenant if, in the contract, it states that the landlord may evict for any reason (as a sovereign person may with their own body). To categorically state that a landlord has no grounds to evict a tenant is in error.

      Perishing naturally is not being murdered, I am not sure how or why you would draw that comparison.

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    4. Eviction gets the child out alive. A good first step. THE first step. Now let's iron out the details.

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    5. You are wasting your time here. You haven't read the piece, have you. You are just making stuff up.

      Matt, you have set a speed record for being blocked, albeit conditionally. Demonstrate that you have read the piece by actually showing some knowledge of its contents. Then I may allow further comment from you.

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  13. I wholeheartedly agree with BM’s well-stated views on the irreconcilable differences between NAP and abortion. BM uses very strong libertarian philosophical arguments to cement his position. Well done.

    The subject of “punishment” for a woman (or a couple) who decides to kill their defenseless child is a completely different topic and requires extensive libertarian philosophical justifications.

    I’m certainly not qualified to provide those arguments, but it seems to me that “the community” isn’t “the victim”. The victim was the child. There is no one to-make-whole in a libertarian, natural law system of justice.

    I disapprove of the act of abortion, but I’m not worthy to “punish” someone who did not victimize me.

    BM, could you explain your views on “punishment” from a natural law, and/or a libertarian perspective. I'm curious about how that works.

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    1. It is a topic that I have not spent a lot of time on, primarily because I think such things will be determined by the cultural traditions of society.

      "I disapprove of the act of abortion, but I’m not worthy to “punish” someone who did not victimize me."

      Even a libertarian society must find someone "worthy" of punishing a murderer of one who leaves behind no one to "make-whole."

      As to natural law, it is useless if it does not support punishing someone who is responsible for the murder of an innocent; life being the ultimate expression of natural law.

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    2. Thank you for the reply and your well-considered thoughts.

      I agree that common law (defined as “cultural traditions of society”) demands that some agency or individual must fill the necessary role of Judge...and I suppose, that also means a “Punisher” is required.

      One feature of a libertarian “society” or “community” is that each group of individuals who voluntarily associate together can determine their own “common law” system of justice. I’m comfortable with not trying to pre-define what justice system each community might create.

      But the subject of “crime and punishment” from a libertarian perspective intrigues me. Perhaps you might address it in a future blog essay.

      Thank you very much for your insightful essays. Each one is thought-provoking. I’ve grown my own libertarian philosophy and perspectives from reading your valuable blog.

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    3. Thank you, UA.

      I am not sure my thoughts on this topic will be any more developed than what you have written in the two middle paragraphs of your comment.

      I find the mental masturbations (I really don't have a better word) of many libertarian thinkers on such topics as just that. Communities will figure this stuff out; as long as the communities are reasonably voluntarily formed and held together, there is no libertarian theorist in the world that can complain - my version of liberty doesn't have to be universal.

      Maybe I am taking the easy way out...but who am I to say what form such subjects should take in someone else's voluntarily formed community? This is why I see decentralization as libertarian theory put into practice.

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  14. Life is a come-as-you-are party. None of us choose our race, our birth-sex, or our economic and geographic starting points. Perhaps most importantly, we don’t choose our starting point on the historic timeline. We each begin the game of life with pre-determined attributes (good & bad) - some are immutable and some are within our power to change.

    In theory, it’s nice to dream of millions of small voluntarist communities where individuals gravitate together based on common and compatible principles and culture...but that ain’t reality...it never will be.

    There will never be a reset button that uproots 7 billion humans to choose which geographic community with which they each want to associate. That reshuffle won’t happen, so it’s not worth the “mental masturbation” effort. The best we can hope for is some limited, localized autonomy or perhaps limited secession/decentralization. That possibility will only effect a very small percentage of humanity. ...very small.

    The human experience will always involve interacting with people who do not share compatible principles and cultures with you. Learning-to-human involves developing people skills sufficient to deal with the joys and conflicts of relating with people who are different than you. That’s why jurisprudence is important...for those times we can’t resolve conflicts at an interpersonal level.

    All human interactions are personal. The sum of your experiences is determined by who you meet along the way. Over time you develop a feel for who you like and who you are less comfortable with. As Bastiat wrote, “man is naturally inclined to avoid pain...”. In society we do that by gravitating and associating with those with whom we feel most comfortable and by avoiding those with whom we feel uncomfortable. That is your unique, personal bias. It’s limited by those with whom you are exposed.

    We are all captive to time and geography...and government. Within those constraints, we have a lot of smaller choices. ...think of the first day of Kindergarten class. Each child eventually gravitates to a small group of friends, but they all are captive and governed by the Kindergarten Teacher. The children’s don’t get to choose their classes, schools, or teachers.

    Similarly, most people do not get to change their neighbors, their economic class, or their governments. So the dream of a world with millions of decentralized libertarian communities of like-minded individuals is just...a dream. It isn’t going to happen on a grand scale.

    We are captive to our moment in history. Today, we have a virtual online communities of like-minded, libertarian individuals exchanging ideas...which is indeed “mutual mental masturbation”. It’s gratifying to exchange ideas and to grow intellectually. But to what end?

    I’m not hopeful that we will ever achieve a geographically-defined area where we can each physically uproot to live together in peaceful NAP harmony. Is it possible? Perhaps. Is it probable? Not really.

    I agree that our best course of action is to support every secession or decentralization effort. Thugs don’t give up power easily.

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    1. UA, at the most practical level, your last sentence says it all.

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