Thursday, May 12, 2016


I am struck, in the Rothbard quote cited above, by the phrase a “much-neglected aspect of the real world.” Libertarians, all too often, have to be constantly reminded of the real world, as opposed to the world of floating abstractions they sometimes seem to inhabit. It is one thing to have principles: it’s quite another, however, to apply those principles to reality – not by compromising them, but by recognizing that one-dimensional models of human behavior will not chart a course to liberty.

I would highlight the key points in this paragraph, but then I guess I would probably highlight every word.

Anyway, maybe it isn’t really progress; as you will note, Raimondo is citing Rothbard.

It always comes back to Rothbard.


  1. Murray Rothbard: Back to the Future!!

    Don't be discouraged, B.M.; the Rothbard mine is deep and full of undiscovered gems.

    1. Never discouraged, always pleased to find (either before or after I have written something) that Rothbard was there first.

      In my lifetime I couldn't read everything he wrote. I have no idea how he WROTE everything he wrote.

    2. He wrote every (highbrow) thing he wrote and still had time for lowbrow soap operas, which he loved, and sports: (1-1/2 hrs., approx.)

      Hans-Hermann Hoppe and friends relate their Rothbard stories of Rothbard, twenty years after he passed us the baton.

  2. Rothbard understood politics. Raimondo is one of the few libertarians who really followed his lead on political analysis.

    I have been very disappointed by libertarians counter-signaling Trump and some, like Wenzel, have gone so far as to say that Hillary is good for libertarians. The main problem with this viewpoint is that it assumes libertarianism can be a viable force in national politics once people have been sufficiently disillusioned by the system.

    In my opinion, the fact that Trump is better on foreign policy than Hillary Clinton should be enough of a reason to prefer Trump. Furthermore, it is likely that Clinton would go after free speech and guns, which would make our struggle even harder.

    Also, Trump's use of America First rhetoric should be inspiring support in libertarians, regardless of how serious he is about it- it shifts the focus where it needs to be.

    If libertarians are actually interested in politics, as they are and not as we would like them to be, they need to play metapolitics. The battle now is against cultural marxism and empire, but we need to critique empire from the right (America First), or else we will continue support the leftist premises that are destroying us.

    As for the specific Rothbard quote- brilliant. It should hardly be surprising that the guy who basically came up with all of this should understand the libertarian Achilles heel- autism. This post could have easily been titled "Rothbard on Libertarian Autism."

    We need to see people as they are and not as abstractions. There are differences in human populations and we need to stop pretending libertarianism is equally amendable to all disparate groups.

    One obvious reason why libertarianism (of the non-marxist variety) appeals to straight white males is that they do not benefit from the welfare state, or the givesmethat-industrial complex as it may be more commonly known. The system is openly hostile to this demographic and therefore this demographic is the only one that can hope to benefit from increased liberty.

    1. Libertarianism and conservativism suffer from the same "empathy gap". We just don't FEEL enough. So yeah, it's a white male thing.
      I'm all about division of labor. I'm a typical white guy. So blacks (generally) are better athletes, better dancers, (apparently) better lovers, better musicians, and they're all around cooler. I'm OK with that.
      Women can hit the high notes, put up with brats (not the sausage kind, those are for guys), and all around FEEL for folks. Hey, that's cool.
      So... what are white guys good at? Well, inventing shit and making honest money, and doing the heavy intellectual lifting generally (note: I include asians and semitic people as white guys for the purposes of this comparison.
      Nobody wants to watch a middle aged white dude waddle around a basketball court heaving air balls. Why should we have to watch minority and female people fail at commerce and governance?

    2. UC, don't you think that Rothbard knew that the system of which you write was conceived, designed, implemented, and managed by straight white males?

      As I have frequently noted on alt-right sites, it is the white man who has given us the following:

      (1) the income tax;

      (2) the progressive income tax;

      (3) the IRS;

      (4) the estate tax;

      (5) the gift tax;

      (6) Abe Lincoln;

      (7) Henry Clay;

      (8) Teddy Roosevelt;

      (9) Oliver Wendell Holmes;

      (10) Progressivism;

      (11) The New Deal;

      (12) the dormant commerce clause;

      (13) the FBI;

      (14) the CIA;

      (15) the EPA;

      (16) social security;

      (17) social security disability;

      (18) Medicaid;

      (19) Medicare;

      (20) socialized medicine;

      (21) collective bargaining;

      (22) the closed shop;

      (23) the licensing of occupations;

      (24) the FED; and

      (25) the war on drugs

      The list could go on and on......

      Most libertarians know and understand this. They are not autistic about this fundamental, overriding reality.

    3. That is an interesting point. However, you could have summed it up just as easily as: white people have a historical facility with diverse ideas, including liberty, mercantilism and socialism.

      Mercantilism and socialism, as most libertarians understand, benefit a few at the expense of the many and is a generally sub-optimal socio-economic system. Liberty as defined by negative rights, with cultures developed and protected by property rights appears to provide the balance between conservative and progressive ideas under which humans seem to thrive, especially by driving up the standard of living for the poorest people.

      Whether this comes about as a result of racial or geographic determinism is a moot point. It is how it is: human nature. Borne out by history. Bound to repeat itself. Stranger than fiction. And so on.

    4. "In my opinion, the fact that Trump is better on foreign policy than Hillary Clinton should be enough of a reason to prefer Trump."

      I'd like to point out that whether Trump is, or is not, "better" than Hillary Clinton on foreign policy is not known at this time. It is not "fact" as you put it, but opinion as you mentioned earlier in your statement.

      Sadly, there's only one way we are going to find out.

      I offer this in the context that I was one of the early commenters to RW about my belief that Trump appeared to be better from a foreign policy perspective than Hillary.

      My opinion was based solely on Trump's rhetoric. It appears the last couple of months that he has backtracked somewhat and I'm not so sure anymore. He has taken on some warhawk advisers and appears to be entertaining warhawks in a VP spot...all the while taking about "taking on Isis" and the "need" to strengthen our military. (in fairness to him though, you can strengthen the military by simply bringing the troops home...but somehow I doubt he means it this way)

      Presidents have a long history of doing the exact opposite of their campaign rhetoric. So while I was encouraged by Trump's foreign policy statements 3-6 months ago, it appears the pendulum might have swung the other way.

      This reinforces to me that politics is a "suckers game".

      Libertarians should be for principles, not "people" IMO. People are fallible, and while principles can be-at least they can be debated. :)

      I personally think it's not helpful, perhaps even confusing, to those seeking to understand libertarianism that RW says he hopes Hillary gets elected or Walter Block says he hopes Trump gets elected- but even if they both qualify their hopes and it's not confusing, I highly doubt that should their man/woman be elected and the do the exact opposite of their campaign rhetoric that we will get a "mea culpa" for their endorsement of said disaster.

      "No new taxes." "Humble foreign policy." "I'll close Guantanamo." "I'll pull the troops out." etc. et al...

      The list of lies by Presidential candidates who went on to be elected is too numerous to list.

    5. Nick, Hillary is a war criminal Trump is not and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    6. Nick,

      I think it is far more likely that we can put pressure on Trump to be more anti-interventionist than Clinton. She has a proven track record of criminality, and Trump has thrown us a lot of bones.

      I don't think it is possible to overstate the importance of a shift in rhetoric from "humanitarian intervention" to "America First." To be able to argue non-interventionist policies aggressively from a nationalist framework is a victory into itself. It is a blow against the foundations of the empire. Yuuuge step forward.

    7. Anon with the list of bad things white people are responsible for,

      America was a country of white people and as such all things both good and bad were run by them until the 20th century. In the 20th century other groups were able to gain power and influence, most notably Jews, but it is true that the foundations of the empire were built by whites.

      I did not claim that white people were perfect or that there weren't groups of whites that were uniquely harmful to our society like North Eastern Puritans. My point was that white people have the most to gain from opposing the liberal empire. They have the most to gain from a system that rewards merit instead of racial grievances. They are the ones who would benefit from self-determination in the West.

      We understand here, BM especially, that empire is a problem in and of itself. England's present situation with whites being a minority in London, and the recent election of a Muslim mayor, has its roots in the British Empire. Enoch Powell understood this and warned against it.

      Where do you expect opposition to the liberal empire to come from if not from European peoples? Or put another way, how can you imagine successful opposition to liberal empire that doesn't include whites being willing take their own side against centralized power?

    8. Nick

      On the one hand, you are right - we don't know what he will do once in office. For this reason - even though I believe the issue of intervention is the single important issue - I have not pulled and will not pull a Walter Block.

      However, different than Hillary (and everyone else running in either two main parties) - we DO know what she will do once in office.

      Trump never laughed when Qaddafi was raped, as just one of 38,000 examples there are on the criminal Clinton.

    9. UC, I make the point for the purpose of reminding white people that it is not their skin color that has given us the best of the West; to the contrary, it has been the willingness of mostly white people, but others, to embrace individuality, innovation, free enterprise and a readiness to confront the state and / or give it the Brutus treatment that has given us civilization.

      To be blunt, I am a race realist of the Derbyshire persuasion - though I probably think there are more IWSBs than he does. Stated alternatively, white people, as a whole, will be more likely to stand up to empire than black, brown, red, or yellow peoples. But, if the resistance is to be successful, then the white man must sever his connections with the state and get over his addiction to warfare and welfare. If not, we are lost.

    10. @BM

      "we DO know what she will do once in office."

      Alright, fair enough. That's a good point. (continuing the wars I'm assuming)

      But let's not assume that The Donald is not going to new wars or just leave things status quo.

      It's not unreasonable to think it's very much a possibility given his rhetoric in the last month. In that regard, he could very much be worse than Clinton- again, no one knows.

      People voting for Trump are doing so on the basis of "hope and change", but there's very little reason to believe IMO that such a thing will occur in the context of Presidential history and those same people aren't considering the possibility he could be worse than Clinton.

      Again, no one knows- it's a good thing you aren't "pulling a Block" IMO.

      Block's example he uses of "voting for the least worst slave master" assumes he knows how said slave master will act....a fatal philosophical flaw IMO.

    11. Nick - if your line of thinking makes sense why not throw people that haven't been convicted of a crime into prison with felons that have been convicted? After all they might commit a crime or might of committed one. Let's not assume that they haven't committed a crime, right?

    12. Matt

      “…why not throw people that haven't been convicted of a crime into prison with felons that have been convicted?”

      That seems to me to be taking Nick’s thinking a bit too far. If you take the random person on the street, odds are high that he hasn’t committed a crime (at least something I would define as a crime) worthy of prison.

      If you take any president – no matter his rhetoric before taking office – he has made the lives of people both in the US and worldwide worse than it would have been had he not taken office. In the last 100 years or more, it is difficult to think of one that hasn’t.


      “In that regard, he could very much be worse than Clinton- again, no one knows.”

      No we don’t know…but…

      I look at it like this: with Clinton we will get at minimum something like what we have had the last 15 years and the maximum of nuclear war. With Trump, there is a chance the minimum will be les violent. I also don’t see him starting a nuclear war with Russia (or anyone else). The man has spent a lifetime building things; he hasn’t spent a lifetime thinking about how to destroy things.

      So…in the middle 80% of possibilities, Clinton and Trump will be the same; on the two ends, Trump may be safer and Clinton far more dangerous.

    13. BM, I realize that I am taking an absurd line but this talk about Hillary and Trump being "exactly the same" needs to be shut down.

      Hillary is a monster. Waco? Hillary. Balkans war against Yugoslavia? Hillary. Libya + Benghazi? Hillary. Sending arms to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State? Hillary. And much more. Hillary is a very serious criminal and when someone says that Trump is the same (or pretty much anyone else) the truth is mocked. Ron Paul and Wenzel are dead wrong about this.

    14. Matt, I agree Hillary is a monster. Trump can be no worse, and offers reason to believe (on a more solid basis than Obama or Bush II during their campaigns) he could be better.

    15. @BM

      “…why not throw people that haven't been convicted of a crime into prison with felons that have been convicted?”

      That seems to me to be taking Nick’s thinking a bit too far."

      Precisely, I never suggested that...but the paradigm itself is a problem because the people with a chance to be elected are going to be put in a position of authority over us by gaining around 12% of the US populations vote- not by any voluntary means.

      "Trump can be no worse, and offers reason to believe (on a more solid basis than Obama or Bush II during their campaigns) he could be better."

      I take exception/disagree with your opinion that "Trump can be no worse".

      No one knows that.

      I do acknowledge that Trmp "could be better" than Hillary.

    16. Nick, since we are both speculating, I will say "fair enough."

      Yet, that he "could be better" is enough to at least cheer...a little?

    17. "Yet, that he "could be better" is enough to at least cheer...a little?"

      I would use the word "hopeful", rather than "cheer"- but I'm splitting hairs.

      Going back to Block's "slave master" analogy it would be hard for me to cheer for the guy that MIGHT dole out less beatings.


    18. Your point about Block's analogy is good.

    19. UC, I've been thinking about this a lot since I read BMs older post about Reagan.
      At first I liked Trump for his brash way of telling PC to take a hike, his claim of America First, and his seemingly embodiment of the nation's collective anger that is focusing on the top.
      Is he co-opting this underlying American feeling, the same way BM proved Reagan was actually just a talking head and playing on the national mood at the time(a thirst for libertarian decentralization) working to co-opt this movement. I would like to hear some opinions on this from fellow compatriots.

  3. "The individual, the state and," the tribe might be a better way to look at the concept of nation. A tribe consisting of individuals who share a common culture.

    You make a great contribution to libertarian theory by elucidating this important, esoteric concept. And make no mistake, culture is an important part of any theory of non-aggression.

    It is, indeed, amusing to find that at the top of any remote mountain flies a tiny flag: Rothbard - got here ages ago.

  4. Here an an example of autism here -

    Libertarians arguing that the people that lost their jobs through innovation or robotics directly benefitted from higher living standards when empirically that didn't happen (there was an aggregate benefit to the society in general, but the people that lost their jobs were losers).

    If that isn't autistic libertarianism, I don't know what is!