I want to expand a bit on comments made in my recent post “Some Libertarians are Not Nice People.”
The initial comment:
Anonymous March 16, 2014 at 6:09 AM
Call me cynical but if this isn't the beginning of an attempted purge then what is? Won't be too long until the Tuckers, the Reisenwitzes, the Milequetoastarians and Technocrats start marginalizing and disavowing those who don't toe the line of the culture-warring left.
(Edited for spelling.)
bionic mosquito March 16, 2014 at 6:28 PM
It is not the beginning of a purge, it is the continuation of the (attempted) purge of Rothbard with a tangential chapter being the (attempted) purge of Ron Paul.
I cannot recount all of the details regarding the purge and shunning of Rothbard, however the story of the break between him and Cato is fairly well known; additionally, even today, while there is finally – with reluctance – at least some recognition of Mises even in the mainstream (Hayek was always the safe Austrian), Rothbard is still all but ignored by virtually every near-libertarian organization.
As to Ron Paul, it seemed to me the attempted purge began almost immediately around the time he conceded his run for president two years ago – even at the time Rand endorsed Romney. Various near-libertarians (or those who travel in intersecting circles) started the process of subtly (and not so subtly) distancing themselves from Ron. I have previously documented several of these; I will not revisit this here.
Back to the comments from my earlier post, continuing the dialogue:
Anonymous March 19, 2014 at 5:49 AM
6:09 AM Anon here.
Sorry if I misconstrued this. The treatment both Rothbard and Paul receive in the "movement" has irked me for some time now, especially the tendency to negate their achievements and portray them as a bunch of delusional loons.
So the questions to ask would be why and who, correct?
(Edited for spelling.)
bionic mosquito March 19, 2014 at 7:08 AM
I can only speculate:
Why? Because the two stand for principle over acceptance.
What was the principle? In Rothbard’s case, it was the non-aggression principle, to be applied in all circumstances and to all actors both with and without badges. While one might debate certain conclusions reached by Rothbard, I don’t believe one can demonstrate that he reached such conclusions because he compromised with the principled objective – a world absent the initiation of force.
In Ron Paul’s case? While I speculate that deep down inside, Ron Paul is probably in complete agreement with Rothbard regarding libertarian political philosophy, while in political office he stuck to an absolutely conservative reading of the Constitution – consistent, he believed, with the most conservative intent of the most conservative framers.
As for the desire for acceptance, C.S. Lewis gave a wonderful speech on the Inner Ring. It is worth reading if you are not familiar with it. Neither Ron Paul nor Murray Rothbard ever showed an ounce of desire for acceptance over principle.
Continuing with my reply:
I imagine there is plenty of psychological thought as to why less principled people who want to be seen as principled react strongly when faced with principle.
I have no idea why Tucker wrote what he wrote regarding principled libertarians. I have no idea why those who shun or otherwise distance themselves from a principled libertarian position do so. In other words, I don’t know their thinking.
What is clear is behavior, as demonstrated in their words. They speak as if change can come without somebody somewhere holding to principle; they believe change can come via an uneducated population. They believe (or want to convince others to believe) that they can hit the target without aiming for the bulls-eye.
Who? The less principled who want to be accepted into respectable society - whether for political, financial, or other gain.
Both Rothbard and Ron Paul are reminders of principle. Such reminders are not welcomed by those seeking acceptance.
There is a range of acceptable dialogue within mainstream society. Politics, the mainstream press, and the business community all exist within this dialogue. It is acceptable to debate tax policy, but don’t question the legitimacy of taxation; it is acceptable to question Fed policy, but don’t question central banking; it is becoming marginally acceptable to question the Iraq war, but don’t question the right for America to go to war at anytime and anyplace (although this seems to be shifting, thank God).
Rothbard questioned these; Ron Paul questions these. To be accepted in polite society, individuals must distance themselves from such questions.
I will return to the reason I began this post – a comment to my brief post in response to Tucker’s now infamous (within our circles) brutalist vs. humanist article. In his article, I see Tucker fighting, for whatever his reasons, against those who are principled.
I have no idea to whom he is referring (and I haven’t seen anywhere where he has identified the brutes). I can think of a few who have a public voice, starting with Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul. I can also add Hans Hoppe, Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, Tom Woods, and a few others. I wish there were hundreds.
If we ever, at some distant decade or century in the future, come closer to some version of a libertarian society, it will be thanks to men such as these, and these will be the ones that are remembered – no one will remember the “milquetoasterians.” If we never make such an improvement to life on earth, none of this will matter much anyway.
Such principled individuals should be thanked. Among them are the most courageous people I know.
In the world of political theories, the non-aggression principle is as close as it gets to the golden rule – a rule existent in numerous religions around the world and a rule as old as recorded history.
Without a consistent, principled worldview, all that is left is to make it up as we go along.
Now THAT is what I would call brutalism.