Saturday, April 27, 2019

Score One for Matt

Matt@Occidentalism April 18, 2019 at 4:47 AM: “Put a fork in it. I won't be part of any "community" which has the NAP as its guiding principle.”

Neither will I; it won't have staying power.  If Matt only stopped his comment here, we might have had a much more fruitful conversation.  Yet, there is much to be gleaned from this.

Any community which has the NAP as its guiding principle is a community that won’t have liberty for long.  I don’t want to go through all of the arguments…again….  Sometimes (like now) this really just becomes too tiresome.  Anyone who actually cares to understand why I believe this (and who hasn’t otherwise been involved in the discussion here) can catch up pretty easily by selecting a few of the posts from here; it won’t take too long – a read of the brief descriptions will point you in the right direction.

There are several organizations and institutions that claim some connection to this idea of libertarianism.  While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, I find that these can be split into two camps based on two factors: one camp both embraces what would be called “right” or conservative values and also embraces Rothbard; the other embraces what would be called “left” or modern liberal values and also despises Rothbard.  The first camp offers some hope for liberty, the second camp…not so much.

In the first camp, I find only one institution…well, technically two, but each is headed by the same gentleman: The Mises Institute and  In the second camp…well, this pretty much includes every other libertarian entity of note – and most other libertarian entities not of note.

Now what does this have to do with Matt?

You Have No Right to Your Culture, by Bryan Caplan.  I am not going to go through his essay or his arguments.  Suffice it to say, if one lives in a community that “has the NAP as its guiding principle,” his arguments are reasonable.  He explains why you do not have this right:

Because culture is… other people!  Culture is who other people want to date and marry.  Culture is how other people raise their kids.  Culture is the movies other people want to see.  Culture is the hobbies other people value.  Culture is the sports other people play.  Culture is the food other people cook and eat.  Culture is the religion other people choose to practice.

Now, if Caplan would write such an essay about Israel, I might stand up and take notice.  But he won’t, and we will never see such a thing – just like no libertarian will write about open borders for Israel.  Why that is…I can only guess.  In any case, Caplan either places the NAP as his guiding principle or he is an immature thinker about liberty – come to think of it, both can be true at the same time. 

As to Caplan’s piece, just a few thoughts:

·        As soon as law and culture (in the form of custom, tradition, religions, etc.) lose all relationship, I might start paying attention to this kind of nonsense
·        When the choices for governance are either common culture or force (and there are no other alternatives), I prefer common culture
·        The only culture that has a history of developing and maintaining the idea we refer to as liberty came from a specific culture (guess where and when)
·        The only people who believe Caplan’s statement are people who despise their culture. 
·        Woke white people, in other words. 
·        They should be on suicide watch.


  1. From my "More fun with Wenzel" files. I wrote:

    I don’t buy any this “imports, foreigners and immigrants are taking our jobs” nonsense but I have real concern about immigrants (and their offspring) with attitudes at odds with private property rights. The fact that we have many homegrown commies does not alter my concern. And expressing these concerns does not make me a racist nor does it imply an irrational emotional fear of immigrants.

    Kshama Sawant was born to Vasundhara and H. T. Ramanujam in Pune, in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra, in a Hindu middle-class family. She is a democratic socialist, politician and economist, a member of Socialist Alternative who sits on the Seattle City Council.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to parent of Puerto Rican descent.

    The eldest of fourteen children, Rashida Harbi was born on July 24, 1976, to working-class Palestinian immigrants in Detroit. Her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit, where he worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant.

    Wenzel calmly responded:

    Offspring? How is this not incredible pre-crime thinking? To condemn a group because their offspring might become socialist?

    From "The Neoright, Immigrants and Pre-Crime"

    1. Bob, I welcome your comments always, but I prefer not to get into a Wenzel-bashing thing.

    2. I have no more Wenzel stories to tell because I never again brought up the immigration topic with him. However, I am always flabbergasted by the extremely hostile emotional response I get from numerous other "no borders libertarians" no matter how reasonable I think I am when bringing up the subject.

  2. Meanwhile White Christian Western Civilization is burning do the ground as zealous Libertarians debate over economic mechanics that are never applied to a socialistic communistic Elite who like the wealth benefits of capitalism when things are going good and socialize their mistakes or mismanagement of their economy. The mixed communistic socialistic economy with plenty of available things is just another attack vector by the elite. As long as we have the Federal Reserve and entrenched commercial interest tied into big government these Libertarians are just basically pissing in the Wind in my opinion.

    Do white Christians of All European Origins hold dear there rich cultural heritage? Or are they going to be victims chasing devalue dollars and fake individualism at the expense of the former?

  3. You may think that I went too far about "hunting down" NAP believers, and ATL wrote that I do not distinguish between good NAP believers and NAP believers that advocate for child abuse and their would-be rescuers like ATL.

    My contention is that a society organized along the lines of the NAP would be helpless to rescuse those kids. Lets take a look at pedo farm (which Robert Wenzel conceded was possible in his NAP based society). In pedo farm children are birthed in artificial wombs, where they are then subject to child abuse by sick individuals from around the world. Pedo farm is encased in properties that allow access to pedo farm for visitors, but not to people that rescue children. To access pedo farm as a rescuer, one would have to violate the sacrosanct property rights of those owners, not just the pedo farm owners, and even kill them.

    Once ATL says that he doesn't give a damn about that then he isn't really following the NAP and thus is just like me, hunting down the child abusers. Understand?

    1. Matt, had you described it this way the first time, the conversation might have gone differently. What you wrote:

      "Put a fork in it. I won't be part of any "community" which has the NAP as its guiding principle. In fact, I will be hunting down NAP believers as a danger to civilization. You have NAP advocates saying that its OK to starve children. Robert Wenzel says that adults can rape children based on adherence to the NAP."

      Now, if you mean to hunt down the specific NAP believers who make such statements, no problem for me. But this is not what you said. You said you will hunt down NAP believers - no qualifiers.

      Suffice it to say, few NAP believers believe such nonsense. Unfortunately, very few condemned it publicly - although they did privately to me. This...I don't get. And, perhaps, lends some weight to your thoughts.

  4. I still maintain that the "second camp" largely consists of Fabians (mostly mainline neoliberal globalists who dislike paying taxes) and mercenaries who get dictated their editorial stance by their donors.

    There is practically no difference between "No have no right to your culture because sexist, racist and homophobic" and "No have no right to your culture because muh individual freedom and if you defend it you'll be stuffing people into cattle cars five years down the line".

    Not that this attitude is reciprocated by anybody, not the (presumably) high status, high IQ elite foreigners Caplan dallies with nor by the average hoejabi or cholo who never penetrates the "beautiful bubble".
    In fact, they sense it as weakness and spit in their faces (the first group is full contempt too but they usually control themselves better).

  5. I am missing something Matt. I don't believe the NAP is sufficient either, but how do child abuse and pedo-farms exist in a society built around the NAP? In both cases aggression is being used against children. The NAP based society would have some form of punishment or at least emancipation.

    1. RMB,

      Previously it was my belief that child abuse was forbidden by the NAP, but under the influence of Robert Wenzel, Murry Rothbard, and Walter Block I now convinced that it isn't.

      Going purely by the NAP you must accept that Bryan Caplan is correct; owners of capital can bring into your country any number of foreign people and impose the costs of that on you, as long as it isn't a measurable financial cost. Any other costs can and are imposed without violating the NAP.

      The same goes for child abuse. If a child commits a crime, which may be as simple as trespass to get a tennis ball back, the property owner may choose the punishment for the child. That could be killing the child. Or raping the child. Kosher per Robert Wenzel.

      Even if you were permitted to rescue a child per Block there is no way to manage it logistically while keeping to the NAP, for reasons I elucidated above.

    2. Assume several married couples homestead some land. They have children and bring in new people. The entire community is dedicated to establishing a pedo-farm. It's their property and they have unambigious written by-laws for this purpose which have 100% support of the original property owners. Can outsiders intervene and rescue the children without violating the NAP? Do we care? Is allowing the children to be rescued a slippery slope to statism that cannot be permitted?

      Also, what if your children are parachuting for fun and accidentally land within the pedo-farm. The farm's bylaws call for them to be punished by being sex slaves until they die. It's their property. Can you rescue your kids?

    3. The answer is no. To all of that.

      Also the property owner doesn't have to provide proof of any of that actually happening, per Robert Wenzel. Mere assertion of transgression/crime is sufficient.

    4. It was unfortunate that the rational libertarian world didn't come crashing down on those who hold such opinions as Matt describes. I recall in the case of shooting the child for the apple - I said that is this was libertarianism in action, I want no part of it.

      Privately I was supported by many - publicly, by one... Walter Block! Although his reasoning (and I may be recalling incorrectly) was driven by his view that children are a special category and that the NAP doesn't have clear-cut answers regarding children. Of course, in my view I hold the same opinion if the apple "thief" is an adult. I only used a "child" in my example, thinking (incorrectly, obviously) that no one would be stupid enough to advocate for shooting a child for picking an apple. Bad call on my part.

      In any case - and Bob Roddis offers a perfect example for me to make this point - and it is a point made by Feser (albeit I don't agree with his prescription fully): we cannot speak about liberty without first identifying rights.

      On what basis should these rights be determined? I cannot escape the idea of Natural Law as being the basis - which then answers the questions raised by Roddis.

      There are cases where the NAP CANNOT be clear: when the issue is my property (the apple) and your life (my choice of punishment), which one wins? Natural Law easily answers this question - at least it seems to me.

  6. I still don't see how those examples involving child abuse don't violate the NAP. You are still committing aggression against human beings who haven't harmed you.

    There is a logical case I guess for property owners who have suffered harm to their property, the apple thief example. But that is only using the thinnest of thin definition of aggression for the child apple thief and allowing for the widest of wide versions of retribution for the property owner. You can use the example of building a box around a person on your property too if you would like.

    That is why I agree that the NAP is insufficient. But add even the slightest bit of proportionality to an owner's retribution into the NAP and the examples goes away.

    But there can be no justification for sexual abuse of a child by the NAP because step one is always violating the NAP.

    1. RMB, the issue Matt raises is driven by a conversation a few years ago where a prominent libertarian (described by a very prominent libertarian as one of the brightest libertarian thinkers today) advocated for just such a scenario as the only possibility consistent with the NAP. Matt is recalling the history and conversation correctly.

      Elsewhere in these comments for this post I expand on my thoughts on this point, so I won't repeat these here.

    2. BM - as you point out, it still hasn't been refuted publicly by people that should do so. People possessing a certain mindset say things like this, and I suspect they might even say them even in absence of the NAP.

      The problem is that the NAP provides cover for people with this mindset. The irony of this is that we then must become "thick" libertarians like Jeffrey Tucker, only of a different orientation.

    3. Matt, I am careful about this idea of "thick" libertarianism. I am sensitive when I read others who state that libertarianism requires something more than the NAP - because libertarianism is ONLY the NAP. This "thick" I argue against.

      The idea that libertarians hold additional values...this makes them human, but doesn't make libertarianism "thick." In such cases, I have worked to understand if these other values increase or decrease the possibility of achieving liberty.

      I have evolved here perhaps more than I have evolved anywhere.

    4. BM, if you will allow me, you are making a distinction without a difference. The final form is the same.

      Also, is it that hard to say "libertarianism is against child abuse. Its against slavery"? If we can't say that then what exactly are we doing?

    5. I think the distinction is important. The non-aggression principle is an important component of a free society (along with Natural Law and Christian ethics). It is lost to us if it is not defined properly.

      "Also, is it that hard to say "libertarianism is against child abuse."

      This shouldn't be hard to say. Where libertarianism cannot speak is regarding appropriate punishment.

      While some find value in exploring theories of punishment consistent with the NAP (other than at the extremes, I do not), it is embarrassing for the NAP that some libertarians advocate for such punishment.