Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bleeding Heart-Thick-Milquetoast-Left-Wine Spritzer Libertarians

I was asked to compile a list of my posts on the above-mentioned topic by someone interested in the subject.  Here it is.

Going through this exercise, I am reminded of how regularly I employ biting comments, sarcasm, and occasional ad-hominem attacks in these examinations.  On most other topics, I have tried to rid myself of these flaws (although an ad-hominem is not always a flaw).  However, on this topic, I usually let it flow. 

Some wonder why I do this.  They suggest I will never get any of these authors to address my points if they feel attacked.  I don’t care if they address my points – I am not working to change the minds of the various authors.  They aren’t blind to the simplicity and beauty of the NAP; they choose to abuse it.  Or they are blind to it; in this case, I am no miracle worker.  I write in a strong manner to emphasize my point for the reader – nothing more.

In any case, the ideas of these authors are worthy only of derision.

Cato Institute

With Friends Like These… Roger Pilon and Richard A. Epstein of the Cato Institute defend the surveillance practices of the NSA.

CATO Questions the Fed Steve Hanke offers Bernanke advice on how he might better centrally manage monetary policy.

Cato Once Again Misses the Obvious Dalibor Rohac manages to write nearly 900 words on the roots of the current crisis in Ukraine without once mentioning the contribution of the Unites States government. 


Go Along and Get Along Libertarians A faction of libertarians (very loosely applying the term) believes that there is hope in working within the system, that the intentions of many in power are good and that they only need to be influenced by better policy prescriptions.

Milquetoast Libertarians in Wonderland the first ever guest post at bionic mosquito; Alice from Wonderland fame examines the claimed benefits of a “Frank Underwood” type libertarian in politics.

Holists and Halfists Max Borders writes of the libertarian “solipsist. This person is content in the echo chamber, sometimes even being alone with his principles.”


More Milquetoast Another day, another suck-the-joy-of-liberty-out-of-the-joy-of-liberty article.  This one, from Reason, is entitled “Time for a Guaranteed Income?”  And sadly, it isn’t followed by a simple one-word, two-letter response. 

Libertarian Surrealism Reason Magazine devoted its January 2015 issue to realism – in this case, realism regarding foreign policy and non-intervention.  “In Search of Libertarian Realism: How should anti-interventionism apply in the real world?”

Students for Liberty

Alexander McCobin at The Daily Bell Alexander McCobin suggests government actors really, truly have good intentions at heart; to think otherwise leads to improper solutions.

The Children Come out to Play Cory Massimino argues against Lew Rockwell’s claim that “Libertarianism is concerned with the use of violence in society. That is all. It is not anything else.”

Libertarian Safe Spaces Cory Massimino: “Feminist and LGBTQ communities’ idea of safe spaces is at its core libertarian….The libertarian vision of a tolerant, free society is really just one big safe space.”

Mark Skousen

Interview of Dr. Mark Skousen at The Daily Bell Skousen offers one government solution after another to several issues of the day.

Mark Skousen at The Daily Bell, Part III Rand Paul will be more successful than his father.  I guess…if you define success as something other than bringing more people to the philosophy of liberty and non-intervention than almost any other individual in the last 100 years.

Mainstream-Acceptable Festival of Freedom Freedom Fest as a tool to distract people from freedom.

Festival of All the Freedom Government Will Allow Skousen’s “Dream Debate of the Century at the 2015 Freedom Fest is between two Keynesian economists: Paul Krugman and Steve Moore.  This passes for a conversation of freedom, apparently.

Andrew Cohen, Bleeding Heart Libertarians

The Intellectual Offspring of Thick Libertarians Andrew Cohen explains “why libertarians—or at least minarchist BH-libertarians—ought to endorse parental licensing.”

Wine Spritzer Libertarians Andrew Cohen is out with a piece: “Should I favor the Abolition of Public Schools (or State-School Separationism)?”  He cannot bring himself to answer the question, let alone bring himself to the libertarian answer.

Kevin Vallier, Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Bleeding Brain Libertarians Kevin Vallier argues for military intervention against ISIS

Matt Zwolinski, Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Libertarianism: So Thick that it is Unrecognizable Zwolinski explains why libertarians should reject the non-aggression principle.

Libertarians, Thick and BIG Zwolinski advocates a “Basic Income Guarantee.”

Bleeding Hearts: Thanks for Nothing Krugman bashed libertarians for advocating a basic income guarantee.

So BIG That You Have to Wait Six Months Zwolinski once again defends a basic income guarantee, but he concedes that his reasoning in an earlier post (which I addressed in “Thick and Big” above) was his second best argument.  So he now offers his best argument – the first people to claim land seized the land.  From whom or what?  You will have to wait a few months for the answer, unless you want to pay for a subscription.

Richard Maybury

Richard Maybury’s “Uncle Eric” series, to the extent I have read a few of the books, is very good.  All of the following posts deal with his advice to invest in defense stocks.

Nelson Hultberg

What Would You Do if…? An addendum to the immediately above item.  What would you do if you had a slam-dunk, water-tight argument disproving both Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard?  Given the immortality awaiting any such philosopher, would you hide it behind a $20 book?

Jeff Tucker

Quite a Change in Standard? Shortly after leaving the Mises Institute, Jeffrey Tucker falls away from Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.

Jeffrey Tucker and Liberty Me Tucker offers his “DO’s & DON’Ts for Talking Liberty.”

Some Libertarians are Not Nice People A very brief examination of Tucker’s libertarian “brutalists.”

When Cheating is (Reluctantly) OK Tucker defends the cheating by the teachers and administrators in the Atlanta schools regarding the test scores for students, comparing these teachers to farmers in Ukraine hiding a few morsels of food from Stalin’s henchmen.

Sheldon Richman

Thick Libertarians Leave Less Room in the Tent Sheldon Richman: “I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force.”

Sheldon Richman Returns to Thick Libertarianism The basis for non-aggression is because individuals owe each other respect.

Sheldon Richman Takes Down Walter Block & Lew Rockwell? Richman offers “the most robust case for the libertarian philosophy” to include “other values that don’t directly relate to aggression (for example, opposition to even non-rights-violating forms of racism).”

Tibor Machan

David Boaz

Defining “Libertarian” Out of Existence “Libertarianism — the political philosophy that says limited government is the best kind of government….”  Also, Rand Paul is Ron Paul.


The Road to Thick Libertarianism is Paved With These Intentions A brief restatement of the role of property rights in a libertarian society.

Thick Libertarians Don’t Get it I suggest that thin libertarians are concerned more about ensuring that libertarianism is properly understood than they are about gaining more converts by diluting the philosophy.

Murphy Rothfar’s “Libertarian Estates” Murphy Rothfar and Lewis Rockman develop a libertarian community; some so-called libertarians feel that the homeowner’s agreement (drawn up by John Henry Hoppy) does not offer enough rules.

Mainstream attacks on Libertarianism

Where is Murray Rothbard? Apparently libertarians are the new communists.

The NY Times Hack Job and Milquetoast Libertarians An examination of the NY Times hack job on the Mises Institute and Ron Paul, and the joy taken by the milquetoasts in this event.


  1. Jonathan, I wonder if you had any comment on Ilana Mercer's recent column about the problem (as she see it) of the private procurement of law and order?

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this column.

    1. There are a few things that I might disagree with:

      She seems to confuse “government” with “governance.” There are anarchists, certainly, who advocate against both government and governance. There are anarchists who recognize that libertarian theory is incomplete, and that culture matters. Culture answers many of the questions and will address many of the concerns raised in the post.

      The issues of what would constitute justice in a private law system would be greatly influenced by local custom – libertarian theory does not offer the answer. It most certainly isn’t clear that whatever the victim demands for punishment would be acceptable in any given community.

      A system of private law functioned, to varying degrees, for much of the Middle Ages and there is no reason to think that it could not have further been developed and refined (ask HH Hoppe, whom the author describes as “remarkably sophisticated and brilliant”). To ridicule this example is to confuse the lack of iPads for an unsophisticated society.

      The world already has at least two hundred competing law entities – they are called “governments.” The only solution to competition in law is one world government; no wonder “remarkably sophisticated and brilliant” anarchists (or even run-of-the-mill anarchists) don’t follow along.

      She recognizes the terrible flaws of the current system – yet the current system in virtually every country on earth has resulted in similar flaws. To keep suggesting that the current system can be fundamentally improved is a mistaken – and dangerous – belief (and I write this knowing and agreeing with Rothbard that there are appropriate avenues through which one can take interim steps toward a libertarian society).

      This is off the top of my head and after a quick read.

  2. Well done Mr. Mosquito.

    There are far too many middle-of-the-road writers out there these days. Funny how they call themselves libertarians when they are really just moderates looking for a fashionable moniker with which to apologize for violent state action. I enjoyed your take-down very much.

    Also. I have truly appreciated your WWII timeline; a uniquely magnificent and fascinating undertaking on your part.

  3. And what about the Rothbard von Mises dispute over absolute morals vs relativistic morals, found in the essay on that topic in Rothbard vs the Philosophers where Rothbard notes his agreement with Leo Strauss on this critical topic.
    If Mises is right, then the values such as the non aggression principle need not be followed, with the door opened to a greater freedom or perhaps for more exploiters??
    and where is Lew Rockwell, as President of the von Mises Institute on this in relation to Bosz or Mercer or Cato.
    Indeed von Mises was a miniarchist andbRothbard not
    Considering these two founders of Austrian economics, and the crucial importance of a moral backing to capitalism, or not , what does it matter if say Mercer gets government confused with governance or that Machan is too clever for his own good??

    1. Do you have a point, other than Rothbard wasn't a clone of Mises? Or is it because nothing matters, therefore I should stop writing? Or because I haven't addressed your pet peeve?

    2. It is not a pet peeve but a real and highly important dispute between von Mises and Rothbard
      Are you really willing to follow von Mises and allow for the real possibikity of the dominance of the warlords and ecploiters
      or are you willing to take what appears to be a set of rules, called absolute morals, and live under them in a so called anarchy.
      What is worse is that Rothbard uses Strauss aga8nst Mises, this same totally evil Strauss, and no one bats an eye?
      So who is the wacky libertarian?
      So what if Rothbard and Mises dont always agree sure, over flavors of ice cream which doesnt signify, or over an issue that has split the libertarians in two.
      Come on BM
      I recall an article by Walter Block over a crucial property rights issue, whether a person can voluntarily sell himself into slavery, and the attendant difficukties of tegaining his personal property
      Yet another dispute that needs attention
      And the problem if the Dispute Resolution Organization, will it be a quasi government or just a feckless advisory group
      Again, who cares that the FEE thinks it can have a libertarianism within the system
      Ron Paul thinks so, but Paul thinks a rrturn to the original Const and Bill and presto all is set right, and he is a friend of Rockwell, who is no miniarchist
      Yup there are tons of contradictions and hypocrisies at Cato, FEE, Skousen, Boaz, etc., but they have not cornered the market in contradictions and hypocrisy.
      There is plenty at the von Mises Institute

    3. Richard

      I just posted an article with 45 different posts covering contradictions. I have written several times about disagreements I have with Rothbard, Block, and others; these posts aren’t on THIS list because they don’t challenge or contradict the foundation of the NAP.

      I have written often about what I believe is necessary (in addition to the foundation of the strictest definition of the NAP) for a society to survive and thrive – the moral / cultural conditions. I write about the contradictions between my views and the views of others.

      Because I haven't done something you consider important is supposed to mean what to me, exactly?

      So LvMI isn't perfect; you know, they are made of humans as well. Tell me of another organization that comes closer to a consistent position on free-markets and non-intervention.

      Perhaps YOU should start a blog. Write about whatever you choose.

    4. "Considering these two founders of Austrian economics"

      Wasn't Carl Menger the founder of Austrian economics?

      Mises and Rothbard held some different views, for sure (can't get intellectuals together over food, but invite them to an argument and they're there), Despite Mises' disagreements with Rothbard (classical liberal vs libertarian), he did stand up in a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society and declare those in attendance to be "a bunch of socialists".

      The intrusion of the state into so many arenas of everyday life has shifted the debate to make it so that smaller amounts of socialism can sound like libertarianism to some - even though it is not. It sounds to me like just another "diamat" thread.

    5. So Menger is the founder
      and Rothbard and von Mises what? appetizers?
      Mises and Rothbard had some different views, what like chocolate vs vanilla?
      The difference over relativism either results in a binding sort of agreement to follow the NAP, or to be able to flaunt it, and still be libertarian.
      I am in agreement with Rothbard, ss relativism would allow for exploiters and warlords to overrun the innocent.
      If the agreement to the NAP is interpreted as a form of miniarchism, then we should all be happy with that form of small government or govrrnance.

  4. "I don’t care if they address my points – I am not working to change the minds of the various authors."

    I think this is one of the most important sentiments that can be expressed going forward. For a long time now in politics and its cultural activist subset, discussion and criticism has been silenced with the demand that those being criticized must agree to it. You have to be "civil", which means that those that need correcting the most are going to be sitting in judgment of the entire discourse.

    Obviously this is a thinly veiled attempt to stop all real discussion. Since the internet burst out as a worldwide phenomenon, those with vested interests in the State apparatus have feared the power of the truth when shared among the victim classes. It's important that we don't allow our words or our thoughts to be dictated to us anymore.

    We don't need to jump through their hoops to appear "reasonable", we aren't trying to share in any collegiality, we aren't interested in ego or personal aggrandizement as our enemies are. The only thing that matters is finally breaking free from the intellectual (and some would say spiritual) miasma that has deadlocked our culture since the ascendance of social engineering.

    This is a lot bigger than a lot of these people realize. This isn't about grabbing up the next faddish label and ruining it with the usual nonsense as these opportunists (and state actors) do.

    The situation in the Western World and the political movements that arise are not going to be defused by the usual nonsense that has worked the last few lazy decades. The current system has reached its end and will not return. What happens next is going to be big.

    Bravo to the author!

    1. Those that need corrrcting
      No need to be readonable not civil
      The Intrrnrt making the State fearful
      The current system has reached its end

      The Rhetoric of the "shout you down"
      Predictions or assertions of some Last Days

      and I thought we were Not out to change minds by criticism, but to present yhe truth

      Unfortunately, Rockwell, Tom Woods, Rothbard, von Mises also assrrt, proclaim, shout doen and attack, so you are in good company
      And No, libertsrianism cannot be delivered ss if by a Jesus that it is Gods Word and the way and truth is thtough a Prophet
      So, you will have to drop, at least for me the
      praxeologies the assertions of theory ss fact, and yhe fantasies that a Stateless world will have a change in human nature, to the Rousseauian type State of Nature or even the Lockean.
      If men were angels, which they arent, many of them not strong enough to become self sufficient, there eould be no need for you know what

  5. David Gordon at LRC blog writes the following:

    The Bionic Mosquito has often defended libertarianism against those who claim to be libertarians but in fact betray libertarian principles. In the style and verve with which he sets about this task, he is a worthy successor to H.L.Mencken.

    CONGRATULATIONS, BIONIC MOSQUITO! that kudo stands out among all others to this reader.

    1. Yes, those comments were humbling. I found these comments of his of even more interest:

      “Like the Lord High Executioner in The Mikado, he can say, ‘I’ve got a little list.’”

      “Like the main character in Ibsen’s Brand, he says, ‘The devil is compromise.’”

      I had to look these up; might be worth writing a post, we will see.

    2. It doesn't get any better than that. Gordon considers you a delight.

    3. Maybe BM is a modern Harry Fladman
      snd maybe Gordon is the All Highest
      and msybe we are all fswning in front of a Leader, who defends a kind of librrtstianism against the hetetics
      To borrow from Dilorenzo, the :BM Cult" ?

  6. BM,

    I have been considering some recent reactions towards your work. I believe that I have uncovered a new phenome of libertarian: the hand-wringing or the what-about-the-kids libertarian. This is the libertarian who expresses sympathy with a Rothbardian anarchism right up 'til the point where a particular theoretical aspect of NAP ignites the dark imagination and bogeymen, warlords and demons come out and ruin everything.

    Mises is usually trotted out as a beautiful show pony at this point to gain sympathy for the minarchist "solution". To this point, I can only say that there seems to be an epistemic error underlying hand-wringing libertarianism: spontaneous order is not an invention but a discovery, as is the human nature that interacts with it. No amount of hand-wringing or what-about-the-kids "what ifs" will change the incentives of humans and power as you consistently point out regarding such documents of freedom as the Carta and Constitution. You can not legislate freedom.

    If freedoms what you want, then the NAP is what you get and culture will fill in the spaces. "But what about the children!" Yes, yes, I know. Just shove the darkness back inside and go about respecting yourself and other people's property.

    1. Thank you for this thoughtful comment, alaska.

    2. If freedoms is what you eant then thr NAP is what you get and culture fills in the rest???
      No, if freedoms is what you want, then no NAP, too inhibiting, and the exploiters will fill in the rest, as only the smartest and strongest can be true libertarians the aversge and crippled need not apply

    3. Richard, either learn to spell, use spell check, or get thinner fingers - in your four rapid-fire comments (did you have time to breath?) I have no idea what you wrote.

      I almost deleted these as they are indecipherable, but decided posting them would make for a better testament.

    4. Hmm, "the average and crippled" have no fathers and mothers? no uncles and aunts? no brothers and sisters? no kindly neighbors and charitable churchgoers?

  7. Worthy of derision

    Please delete All my comments as I do not understand you, your pursuit of the true libertarian, which is a bit of doublespeak, nor you of me, who takes seriously the claims by Boaz, Machan, Mercer and the rest about their claims to be libertarians.
    Indeed, even the NAP is hardly clear, so the simple assertion to follow it is, well, simpleminded.
    Onve in a while you do post something worthwhile, such as the stuff about Stalin, Hitler and that Pact, and sometines you lapse into complaints against Obama, wbich makes you appear the Republucan, like the occasional Ron Paul
    But so what

    1. I will not delete them. They will remain forever as testament to your contribution to the dialogue here.

  8. FYI, I collect here several examples of unlibertarian positions taken by Cato people --

  9. Listening to Tom Woods' new interview with Austin Petersen, and I think it's safe to say he deserves an entire page all to himself.

    1. It was very confusing, and Peterson seems rather full of himself.

      (I paraphrase everything, as there is no transcript.)

      He says some drunk guy at a liberty conference threatened him, so anarchy can't work. Somehow we are supposed to take this seriously.

      He identifies things that Judge Napolitano and Ron Paul have said or done as examples counter to anarchism. Duh. Neither have claimed to be anarchist (to my knowledge), and both speak and write within a consistent-constitutional framework (being what has drawn at least this anarchist to appreciate their respective contributions toward a more free society).

      Because some anarchists (myself included) support efforts by people like Ron Paul and Judge Napolitano to advocate the reigning in of government does not suggest that we support government (as currently understood). It means we appreciate people who can speak with a consistent voice on topics that will move political society in the right direction. And I don’t have to agree with everything either of these gentlemen have said in order to make this statement.

      He identifies statements by Rothbard, as if there is not disagreement within the libertarian / anarcho community on these issues. Rothbard virtually created the idea of anarcho-capitalism from whole cloth – isn’t this enough for one mortal to do in a (too short) lifetime? I cut the guy some slack a long time ago. He did this almost in a vacuum – nothing like the possibility of robust dialogue that exists today.

      He pounds on the NAP as not being a complete philosophy for life, as if any serious thinker or writer on the topic ever claimed it to be.

      Force cannot be consistently defined within the libertarian community; on the fringes of issues, this is true. But it doesn’t follow that the NAP is therefore “childish.” It just means certain issues need to be further worked out – or may never be worked out within a strict libertarian framework.

      He is correct, libertarian theory does not offer a complete roadmap; it merely offers a guiding light to the question of force. Further answers to be found in this thing called culture.

    2. That was something. I can't help but tie things to political cycles, and we are just into the next presidential one. Time for some agents provocateurs to tempt the strays back into the fold?

      It will be interesting to hear Mr. Peterson's ideas as we get closer to the primaries. By then, I get the feeling his loose libertarianism will become downright disintegrating, like an iceberg drifting south of latitude 44° N.

    3. It's funny, some drunk guy threatened him, and yet he survived!
      I wonder how is that possible!
      It is as if people have some form of free will!
      I know this is bizarre and twilightzonely, but this free-will theory should not be discarded just because it is so recent. Young ones deserve a shot at life!