Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More on Freedom of Speech

I have chosen to address several of the comments to my original post on this topic at one time, via this new post.  I thank each one of you as you have provided very good feedback and conversation on this topic.

While I began the original post on the trail of dealing with the lack of freedom of speech as an issue in this freedom award, I obviously wandered further – into self-censorship; it is in this “further” where much of the feedback to the original post was focused.

C. Stayton June 10, 2016 at 9:20 AM

…just as liberty affects the development of culture, so can culture affect the development (or preservation) of liberty.

This touches on a point discussed on and off between Unhappy Conservative and me.  He suggests (and I paraphrase) that a common culture (and of a certain type) is necessary before one can begin building a libertarian society.  I had not thought much about sequence before he raised this discussion.

Ever since this discussion began, I have been moving slowly toward his view.  I think the reasons are three-fold: first, UC is well thought-out on this matter he presents his reasoning in a logical and rational manner.  Second, I observe the world around me.  Finally, in all of my writing about culture and liberty, the responses from too many defenders of libertarianism have been – let’s just say, less reasoned and less rational.  In my words: they chant “NAP, NAP, NAP” and believe this is the answer to every problem in a world filled with humans.  In UC’s words, they are autistic.

In other words, the libertarian community – to the extent it has given considered thought to the issue of culture – has recognized its importance in the development and maintenance of a libertarian society (see Hoppe).  Unfortunately, there are many who have given the subject no thought and cannot believe it is worthy of any thought (the list is too long); for them, nothing more is required than chanting “NAP” and offering rote answers for every question.  In other words, they offer no reasonable arguments, objections or alternatives.

The question for me is, if liberty is negative in nature, then the goal of liberty cannot only be "more liberty." The goal must be a more moral society.

I have not thought about it this way – at least not in such direct terms.

How do libertarians, as libertarians, view this thing called “morality”?  Some libertarians see “morality” as nothing more than the removal of coercion in all relationships – state and otherwise (business and family relationships, for example); call this the libertine anarchist/communist (my label, not theirs).  It is impossible for me to consider this, as there is nothing in human history to suggest that human society can flourish – or even function – without hierarchy of some sort.

For other libertarians, it means removal of state initiated force.  In my thinking, this is all that the NAP offers – and it is enough to have earned a gold star in the thought of political philosophy.  But, is this enough of a foundation on which to build a functioning and flourishing libertarian society?  It is inconceivable to me.  The NAP does not pretend to offer an answer to every question – no matter what some libertarians want to believe.

So, what is left of the term “moral society”?  If it is not to be found in the libertine anarchist/communist, if it is not to be found solely in the absence of state-initiated force, then where is it to be found?  What is left is cultural and religious norms.  I find no definition that can integrate both the libertine view of morality and the views of any cultural / religious norms.

Libertarianism defines what isn’t – it does not define what is.  You cannot replace something with nothing.

In other words, we are not free simply to be free; rather, we are free to willingly (non-coercively) bear the burdens of our neighbor. That is, to be a decent person who genuinely cares about others. This is where I feel the anarchists fall short. They see the removal of the State as the ultimate goal, whereas I believe the true libertarian desires the removal of the State IN ORDER THAT we may have a more prosperous and virtuous society.

It is something to weigh: consider the libertine libertarian society on the one hand, and a society built on family and community relationships – generally free from state coercion (with a society committed to keep it this way), but not “pure” libertarian / anarchic – on the other.

In which would I rather live?  The answer is easy – not because I am afraid of freedom, but because I enjoy and appreciate life; because I want to live in a society that offers a future. June 10, 2016 at 10:49 AM

You may blaspheme against Allah and the Prophet Mohammed legally, yet you may not cast any doubt on the Jewish Holocaust…

This really struck me in the subject post.  For some reason I did not remember this from the time of the events until reminded of it when preparing the post.  There are laws in many countries regarding denial of the holocaust (and other historical events).  Where is free speech?  Why don’t Hollande and Obama walk the streets in protest of these?

From the post referenced by Matt, 'Nothing Sacred':

The real reason for the contempt Muslims have for Western society is not “xenophobia.” It’s the culture of “nothing sacred” that’s driven them to kill. Muslim fundamentalism still hold to a belief system that cherishes something above themselves, even their very lives. They believe in principles they deem sacred and are willing to give their lives (and take lives as well) for their faith. Western society offers no value system that in any way comes close to the power of radical Islam.

Imagine if those in the west valued Christianity this much.  Don’t like the religious tone of that?  Imagine if those who valued freedom held freedom so dear?

Something matters beyond “me, me, me.”  This is not merely regarding “radical” Islam (although I understand the author’s connection to those who respond in acts of violence).  There is a cultural tie – witness the Hajj, and find any similar examples in western culture.  The Super Bowl maybe?  One sees this in certain other religions and sects as well.  One does not find it in much of the west.

UnhappyConservative June 10, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Contrary to Rothbard, Doolittle argues (and I agree with him) that the essential questions are the Truth content of speech and the criteria for evaluating that content. I will stick to the former since the latter is complicated.

Ultimately what we want is a situation where the cost of telling lies is higher than the cost of telling the truth.

I believe I have read that Rothbard (maybe it was Block, maybe someone else, maybe I am making it up) has stated that to speak of “aggression” regarding something other than property or the physical body just muddies up the NAP.  I have never felt settled about this in theory, and I know it won’t fly in practice.  Why do I believe this?  Read on….

If the speech is untrue and the speaker is met with physical punishment, then his rights have not been violated.

“On the night you were conceived, your mother slept with six men – some of them more than once, and none of them was the man who raised you.  She cannot even say which one of the six is your biological father.”

Frankly, whether true or not, a punch in the nose might be forthcoming.  However, if untrue, what kind of society is it where it is the nose puncher who is to be punished? 

Look up Joshua Bonehill. He will be in prison for the next three years for offending Jews.

I looked him up.  He said a lot of offensive things.  From what I have read, none got him in prison until he offended Jews.  The straw that broke the camel’s back, or something else?

Patrick Szar June 11, 2016 at 10:03 PM

Citing something I wrote:

"whether or not the consequences are a violation of the NAP is irrelevant; a rude comment will deservedly receive a punch in the nose"

His thoughts:

I totally agree with you, yet I'm struggling with this. The violence is clearly in violation of the NAP, yet it seems justice may have been served, or at least someone was educated about the possibilities of poor behavior.

Per my comment above, I am not fully settled on the definition of term “aggression” being limited to the physical.  So while the punch in the nose is certainly aggressive, is it in response to an earlier aggression – is it self-defense, in some manner?

This makes me think about the libertarian position on child rearing and spanking. It seems to be a clear violation of the NAP. It also seems to make for good education.

Above my pay grade.  Libertarian theory is very muddled on the subject of children, as it will likely forever be.  To offer “one size fits all” in raising a child is nonsensical.  Yet this comes back to my view that the family is perhaps the most decentralized governance structure possible.  Not to say that anything goes within the family….

MetaCynic June 13, 2016 at 8:42 AM

But where do we draw the line? …So who is to say that to keep the social peace, religious beliefs should not be offended but political ones should be open to ridicule?

MetaCynic, you raise many good points and questions, and one reason I struggled with writing this post in the first place.  I started with a look at free speech – and nothing about these cartoons fall into this category for the reasons outlined.  But then came the examination of self-censorship….

I will start by suggesting that “we” don’t draw any line – that is to say, no overt, collective decision need be made.  Custom, culture.  These will determine what a community deems as acceptable or not.  “If you don’t like it, leave.  Or we will kick you out.”  Maybe not completely libertarian, but…this is how lines get drawn.  In my view, this leaves room for gradual change but not radical change.

So…as with all things subjective, the precise “line” may be impossible to draw in all places for all topics; this perhaps one reason that commonly understood and accepted cultural norms are conducive to a more peaceful society.  However, at the extremes, perhaps the excesses are readily identifiable.

Tony June 13, 2016 at 9:57 AM

Cartoons of the Prophet? Free speech!

Holocaust revisionism? Thought crime!

Deny the Resurrection of Christ? Hip and sophisticated derring-do!

The declension encapsulates the typical Westerner's assessment of the belief systems impinging on his worldview. Do I overstate matters imputing the death of the West to it?

This was one of my takeaways from the above-offered link by Matt, Nothing Sacred.  To the west, it seems nothing is sacred – or more precisely, the things that are seen as sacred are in fact shallow or even outright lies.

However, the death of the west began at least one-hundred years ago – with the violence of World War One marking the overt event.  What we are seeing now are the results of a suicide blow that has taken some time to achieve its purpose. 

Antonio June 13, 2016 at 1:46 PM

Do we self-censor out of fear? Who's to determine what's derogatory and what is pointedly accurate?

The best I can offer to this is my response to MetaCynic, above.


There is a libertarian vision that is pure libertine, and solely via the NAP there is no argument against this.  Yet this road only leads to war and / or societal destruction.  Try to prove me wrong.

This leads me to the conclusion that a libertarian society (or something close to it) requires both something more – I call this “culture” – and at the same time something less – individuals in a community voluntarily agreeing to non-libertarian standards in order to maintain some sense of societal order.

These non-libertarian standards could include those to be applied toward members of the community as well as other standards to be applied to strangers and visitors to the community.

In all of my exploration of these issues and this intersection, I find myself ever more convinced of this.  Which is one more reason I conclude that libertarianism in theory means nothing more than decentralization in practice. 

We may not end up with perfect libertarian choices, but we end up with more choices.


  1. Dear BM,
    Another excellent discussion on topics of fundamental importance.
    I once tried to explain my sense of this topic, say freedom and culture, with the essay "I Am a Reactionary Libertarian," here:

    The argument begins with this sentence:
    "I believe freedom is, and should be, limited. Freedom of the individual is limited by the nature of our species and the nature of each of us as individuals."
    In other words, there are important cultural limits to freedom. For example, I quoted Burke:
    "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, – in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, – in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, – in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

    The essay is finished by this:
    "I am a libertarian because I believe that virtually everything the federal government does today works against the freedom of the individual and the free institutions of society. Furthermore, it works against the state and local government authority, while empowering them to erode the freedom of the people and institutions. And I am a reactionary because the limits on personal freedom imposed by society have been under constant attack by government since at least the Lincoln administration and thus there is much less to conserve than there is to be regained."

    I compliment you on your blog, for exposing your thinking, the thinking of an honest man (or woman) on these profound issues.
    Ira Katz

    1. Ira

      Thank you for the kind words. Your article is worth reading for anyone interested in this topic. Thank you also for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Mr. Mosquito,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey I've taken with you over the last few months. This post marks a dramatic turn in my own thoughts, or perhaps merely my realization of such a turn being made (in progress). I would write more about this, but lack the time (at the moment), as well as the confidence that what I might write would make much sense. Perhaps after some circumspection...

    Ron Colson

    1. Ron

      Thank you - I am enjoying this as well and am grateful for both the thoughtful feedback that has helped me along and that others have also found the conversation worthwhile and beneficial.

  3. A few weeks ago in a personal discussion I was explaining to someone that you could have a ban on "illicit"(in the moral sense) drugs in an HOA setting that is perfectly compliant with the NAP because such an agreement is voluntary.

    This conversation came about because of his concerns about the potential for a "libertine" society if libertarian views were adopted en masse- which was his primary objection.

    I was greeted with a long pause after explaining the HOA concept to him...and his response(paraphrasing) was, "It would appear that HOA's are the magic bullet in killing the objections to people like myself."

    Unfortunately, because of the focus on the immorality of the "war on drugs" waged by the US gov't(IMO), many people view libertarianism as "libertine" as a result and are turned off by it.

    It is a failing on the part of libertarians that understand libertarianism well in that we haven't communicated how decentralized societies can be tailored contractually to prevent illicit drugs, prostitution, and the like from occurring on a voluntary/NAP compliant basis.

    Instead, we get the "leaders" of libertarian movements yammering on about the immorality of government enforced, NAP violating drug prohibition which understandably turns off a large % of people that don't want to live in communities with rampant drug use- because their cursory understanding is from a libertarian "leader" that gives them no alternative or understanding of NAP application in regard to their cultural desires. (like Gary Johnson for example, who is not that libertarian to start, but the masses don't really know that so for now he's the proverbial "face" of libertarianism to the masses)

    1. "It is a failing on the part of libertarians that understand libertarianism well...."

      Or maybe not a failing. I have been told by someone whom we would all consider an authority on the matter (and this conforms to my extremely cursory understanding of the subject) that libertarian thought was always grounded in the left. Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Hans Hoppe and the like are the aberrations....

      The older I get, the wiser my father sounds.... In my youth I tried explaining libertarianism to him. His response: "What? Are you a communist?"

      Read C4SS (as one example) and try to find the difference between libertarianism and communism/left-anarchism on those pages. You would have to hold a PHD in libertarian thought to find the nuance.

    2. "Read C4SS (as one example) and try to find the difference between libertarianism and communism/left-anarchism on those pages. You would have to hold a PHD in libertarian thought to find the nuance."

      Hmmmm....a sad state of affairs. You probably have a point as the list of libertarians that advocate positivist rights seems to fairly big.

      I can't help though thinking that a focus on the NAP and its relationship to culture(which impacts how the NAP is applied) might help to clarify the "core"(which IMO is the NAP, even if it is at times subjectively applied/determined by culture) and further the goal of decentralization in the name of property rights, voluntary contracts, & the NAP in general.

      Maybe I'm too hopeful/optimistic. Maybe their goals aren't really free societies. I hope that isn't the case.

    3. Some may have a goal of a free society, however (from my viewpoint) they are working toward further enslavement and not really know it.

      But I also suspect some know it.

    4. "The older I get, the wiser my father sounds.... In my youth I tried explaining libertarianism to him. His response: 'What? Are you a communist?'"

      LOL. Sounds like your old man was one cool guy.

    5. I think a lot of people, when they say they want a "free society" mean they want a society that reflects their values. So if their values are to force you to fight in their wars, or pay taxes that keep you from ever achieving financial security, or keep your voice-trained dog on an unnecessary leash ... well, that's freedom for them and therefore, you ought to comply with "civilization."

  4. "In other words, we are not free simply to be free; rather, we are free to willingly (non-coercively) bear the burdens of our neighbor. That is, to be a decent person who genuinely cares about others. This is where I feel the anarchists fall short. They see the removal of the State as the ultimate goal, whereas I believe the true libertarian desires the removal of the State IN ORDER THAT we may have a more prosperous and virtuous society."

    Yes, the state is the PRIMARY block against a prosperous and virtuous society as it decreases the costs of vice by socializing them. It increases the delay between the relatively more moral people refusing to maintain social order and chaos by handing the maintenance of social order to people who PROFIT from a lack of order.

    1. Very well said, Jim. Hence, the war on... poverty, drugs, cancer, etc., will never be won by those supposedly fighting these wars today - nor is victory even desired.

  5. Bionic,

    Your recent run of posts has inspired me to shake a stick at culture. Since I am not certain that I am ever on topic, I will simply post the links here:
    Cultural Etatism
    Part 1
    Part 2

    Thank you for the grist.

  6. This relates to free speech, and also to Jacob Hornberger's state enforced open borders advocacy.

    When we talk of freedom, are we speaking of the freedom useful to an actual human being, or freedom in the abstract? Jacob Hornberger says that taking in middle eastern refugees, who are mostly illiterate and will overwhelmingly spend their lives on welfare, is "freedom". I will have to pay taxes for it, and deal with the crimes and other aspects, and in the real world my freedom has decreased as a result.

    However because the refugees can now live in my country at my expense, their freedom has increased. It is of this "freedom" that Hornberger speaks.

    Before the state policy of importing Muslims I had the "free speech" of blasphemy against Allah or the Prophet Mohammed, but now I must watch my words for I might blaspheme in error if not in intent. So my real world freedom has decreased.

    Somehow when "libertarians" speak of freedom, they are not talking about freedom here and now, in the real world in our day to day lives. Instead they are speaking of abstractions that do not intrude into reality.

    So when people like Hornberger advocate these abstractions as actual policy, what they are proposing is imposing costs on people that didn't ask for it. "Freedom" indeed.

    1. "So when people like Hornberger advocate these abstractions as actual policy, what they are proposing is imposing costs on people that didn't ask for it."

      This has been one of my many beefs about "open borders" supposedly being the only libertarian policy. It is perfectly libertarian for a community to make and enforce exclusionary rules.

      Unfortunately when it comes to state borders, such libertarians (those who choose exclusionary rules) are left with only one means to enforce these rules.

      So, where is the sympathy for such libertarians? We won't find it from those like Hornberger.

  7. Another great post that has helped me further clarify my thoughts -- thank you. For me, the concept of liberty/NAP as negative and culture as positive draws from a similar concept in the reformed Christian tradition regarding the Ten Commandments. To more fully understand and appreciate the Ten Commandments (the reformed Christian argues), they cannot merely be understood as negative statements, "Thou shalt NOT," but as negative statements springing from the character of a positive moral being (God) and thus implicitly positive statements. To not murder anyone does not make you a good person - it merely makes you morally neutral. Thus Christ clarified that the (negative) commandment to not murder is really a (positive) commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. He condemned the Pharisees for only understanding the negative aspect of the law and not understanding the more foundational positive aspect of it, rooted in the very nature of God.

    In that context, you might argue that culture derives from the personal character of individuals living in community with one another. Culture is not external but internal expressing itself externally. The NAP is purely external.

    So NAP = negative, external
    and culture = positive, internal

    The libertine libertarian only wants to uproot the state so that he can do whatever he likes short of violating the NAP. In that case, he may as well argue for a managerial state that unreservedly facilitates his hedonist lifestyle, a la A Brave New World. A true libertarian must fight for the right of the libertine to live as he pleases while at the same time criticizing his lifestyle and compassionately reasoning with him to change.

    On the topic of freedom of speech, this negative/positive concept could be applied to say that freedom of speech as a law is strictly negative -- the government cannot use force against an individual for merely speaking (which is by nature nonviolent). The positive aspect is that we are free to speak wisely and out of love, or free not to speak at all if we feel our words will be detrimental to others.

    1. C. Slayton,

      I very much appreciate the nuance you shared here, regarding the commandments of God. I must ruminate on these things.

  8. When discussing how the NAP might work in practice, I think it essential to remember that only violations of the NAP trigger defensive violence and would thus be “actionable”. There are and will be zillions of nasty and disgusting things that people do on their own property that do not rise to the level of a violation of the NAP. The sanctions that might be applied to these behaviors can be in the form of concerted refusals to deal. If there are nothing but private roads, nasty people can be denied access to those roads. This is where culture comes in. And with it, peer pressure. Further, the members of a particular cultural community might bind themselves contractually to a particular mode of behavior. Violators could be expelled.

    In most of these discussions, libertarians tend to fail to differentiate between “actionable” wrongs and other wrongs that can still be effectively addressed by various levels of ostracism or through contractual requirements and the like. For starters, this differentiation can be applied to people who want to “discriminate” where the broader culture could minimize whatever harm might be inflicted by such behavior.

    The NAP is there to keep us safe. It does not tell us how to otherwise live our lives.

    1. Hey Bob,

      Couple of points.

      "I think it essential to remember that only violations of the NAP trigger defensive violence and would thus be “actionable”"

      There is no reason to think that law will be based on the NAP in a decentralized society with smaller sovereigns. Perhaps some will, but even the ones that are will have different standards of "aggression." For instance "anti-libertarian" speech may be outlawed. Going off a Block's view this would be an "unlibertarian" law.

      The NAP does not "keep us safe." Force does. NAP is a theory about just legal application of force. However, if you let your interpretation of the NAP prevent the apriori exclusion of problem-demographics then you have just allowed the NAP to make you less safe.

      On this " It does not tell us how to otherwise live our lives," I would leave out the word otherwise. I doesn't tell us how to live period. It simply assumes there will be consequences for certain actions in a libertarian legal order (which doesn't even exist, lol). If I rob a bank does that mean I am no longer a libertarian?

      Libertarians often criticize leftism as a form of secular theology (I believe they are most influenced on this by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and Alexander Gray). It never seems to occur to them that the same criticism applies to themselves. I interact with many libertarians that can be fairly described as deferring to a political theory for morality and meaning, which there is a word for....

  9. "I believe I have read that Rothbard (maybe it was Block, maybe someone else, maybe I am making it up) has stated that to speak of “aggression” regarding something other than property or the physical body just muddies up the NAP. I have never felt settled about this in theory, and I know it won’t fly in practice. Why do I believe this? Read on…."

    I would like to address this.
    I agree with rothbard or whomever that considering ownership of other "things" muddies up things. While this is somewhat true it cannot be ignored.
    For example, there are all sorts of non-physical things that people possess but not exclusively(like physical property)- love, anger, emotions... Soul, honor, ego.
    All of these "things" belong in a higher category so to speak, that is, more "heaven" like, less "earth" like.

    While I have emotions, I may not exclusively own these, and so you may do with them as you wish.
    But my honor, soul, and ego ARE exclusively mine, and if one attacks my honor by insulting me, then I have a right to defend my honor, or that which is mine exclusively.
    The fact that I may sell my soul or honor on the market proves their worth as abstract "property".

    1. Josh

      To the extent I have thought about these issues, I lean very much toward view.

      I think about my reputation. Can I "own" my reputation? I have read libertarian arguments that say no.

      I have not put all of my thoughts together on this, but it seems to me that such libertarians are wrong.

    2. If I remember properly, a well respected libertarian talked about something similar, which might be what BM is citing.

      I don't remember who, I think it was Block but could have been Rothbard, or someone else completely. The subject was Reputation but might have been part of a broader writing about owning intangible "things", but are still part of being a human.

      Summary: You can't own a reputation, a reputation is a collection of critiques from people that have experienced a particular person or entity.

      If I'm still remembering accurately and not confusing two different subjects and writers, this writing continued on and stated defending one's honor was also perfectly acceptable.

      Now I'm really curious who wrote it and what exactly they said, I'll try to find this and share it if I do.

    3. A functioning aristocratic society needs to have codes of honor. Personally, my honor means more to me than my life. If I am willing to put my body on the line for my honor then obviously it is not something that can be casually dismissed, and I am highly suspicious of those who would like to dismiss it.

      If someone is telling vicious lies about me and I introduce them to my friend the curb, what is the problem? They didn't have to lie, they chose their fate. Do libertarians really want to live in a society where dishonorable liars are protected against honorable truth tellers?

      We used to have a proud tradition of dueling in the West. Lets bring that back.

    4. UC

      Apparently you are in the south and I am immensely proud sir. I've read a lot on this blog regarding discussion of the "sovereign" and what or if it should be.
      Dueling is a most excellent sovereign.

    5. BM

      I don't think one can own reputation, which is really the way others look at you, "others"-esteem as opposed to self-esteem. One way to look at honor or ego for that matter(both similar to each other and reputation as well) is the way you look at yourself, or self-esteem in a baser language. It is yours. If someone attacks that or threatens in any way, defense is necessary.
      Like UC sausage, reputation can also be protected by deulling. Were society cannot agree where the NAP applies, which will be more often than not in a moral and productive society, dueling could be a viable answer to justice.
      Don't get me wrong, it would truly suck if everyone just dueled willy-nilly, but the consequences of dueling pretty much solve that problem.

  10. You warm my unhappy heart BM.

    "voluntarily agreeing to non-libertarian standards in order to maintain some sense of societal order."

    Now if only we could to do something about the first part of that. The voluntary part. Of course we both agree that in theory, and hopefully in the long-run, that is the situation we want. The Ideal. In the meantime, we cannot rely on people to chose correctly. If we could, we would have president Paul (the good one, not his lame son). As long as their choices affect me and the people I care about, I have an interest in restricting their influence.

    The Left is the Permanent Revolution. We need counter-revolution. They need to be shut down and removed from positions of influence. It is literally the only way. Physically remove them from our societies. Purge.

    I have zero problem with, in fact I am emphatically supportive of, outlawing Cultural Marxism. Criminalize its dissemination. Which of course entails speech laws.

    I believe Hoppe to be the premier libertarian theorist after Rothbard, and where his contributions were original, he surpassed Rothbard. My interpretation of Hoppe is that illiberalism is more conducive to a libertarian society than liberalism. Because libertarianism grew out of the classical liberal tradition, this is a tough pill for many libertarians to swallow, but if we are honest with ourselves it is not hard to see it. By its very nature a libertarian society would be narrow and exclusive. It is specifically libertarian, not other things. Other things would not be allowed. Anything that threatened that order would not be tolerated. Furthermore, there would be other criteria for specific communities in addition to respect for private property. There will be ethnic and religious restrictions as well.

    Liberalism leads to its own form of imperialism. Everything has to be subsumed underneath it. The small and the particular are thrown out in favor of the big and universal. Which is why I think you (BM) are right on the money with your line "libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice." You should have that as a tagline for this site. I am going to be using that line when I interact with libertarians (I will of course give you the credit).

    Thanks for your intellectual honesty BM, an honest man is hard to find these days. Alot of the views I express would (and do) get me banned from various forums. You have behaved honorably in addressing my points and for that I am very grateful.

    1. Thank you for the comments; you have remained civil and always challenging - why others might ban you, I don't know.... Fear, maybe?

      As to the "tagline," I owe that idea to Ryan McMaken who wrote something that really focused my thinking on this. His post is here:

      My comments on it here:

    2. Without a doubt, removing this crowd from power is vital. We like talking about decentralization, this is a power structure that would take lethal offense to our aims.

      But I'm not sure I necessarily agree with shutting down and silencing Cultural Marxist speech. It's (obviously) not because I support them, it's the total opposite: Letting them spout their drivel hurts them more than us, and if current evidence says anything they'll get knocked out of power on their own as a consequence of the market.

      I'm a younger guy, depending on what criteria gets used I'm considered a Millennial. A consequence of that is I have mostly Millennial friends, thus most of them are liberal or have liberal inclinations.

      As a result of the SJW generation, they can see the results of their theories in real time. Tolerance, multiculturalism, contents of the Trump protesters - let's just call it SJWism. These friends I have are changing their tune, wondering what exactly they've been supporting this entire time.

      I don't encourage you to take my word for it either, look at the reaction to Target's bathrooms and the new low enrollment figures at Mizzou University. There might be other reactions I'm not aware of either.

      If we want to hit below the belt: record their protests, put it on youtube, let them be their own worst salesmen. They may even know this, it's why they shudder like leaves in the wind whenever an obvious outsider shows up with a camera. Come home, do some commentary over the video, and upload it.

      To be honest UC, I think you'd probably be one of the best at this if it's a plunge you'd be willing to take.

  11. BM: "How do libertarians, as libertarians, view this thing called “morality”?

    More "grist for the mill" ? :

    To repeat what I have tried to clearly state here before to no avail [whoa is me :-) ] , morality and moral valuations are ultimately subjective and unique to each individual - what one person sees as being "moral" and "immoral" is going to be different [in fine detail] from what another person sees.

    Fact: no two persons can ever have the exact same view of what constitutes morality or immorality [although they might agree in more generalized, less defined ways, giving the surface appearance of total agreement ].

    Also, the term "libertarian" is no less subjectively interpreted - inevitably, one person's "libertarian" is another person's "fascist", or "communist", or whatever.

    The trouble with "libertarianism" [as far as I can see], is that, absolutely no differently from all other self-described"world-changing" groups past or present [e.g. marxist, fascist, objectivist, conservative, liberal, environmentalist, christian, buddhist, moslem, jewish or whatever] , the individuals within it almost always unfailingly presume that their own unique, personal view of what constitutes "moral" and "immoral" behavior will inevitably be [first] accepted by everyone within said group, and then later on, and in order to supposedly "make the world a better place", by a sufficient/winning number of individuals presently viewed as being outside of the group, but who later would [presumably] come to "see the light".

    This, presumption is, of course, pure fantasy based on the false assumption of the possibility of the present and future similarity of most individuals moralities.

    As a personal freedom consultant, what is most interesting to myself about all this is the fact that many claimed"libertarians" or "anarcho-capitalists" and "Austrian economists" etc.etc., while seemingly able to grasp the basic tenets of what is usually called "methodological individualism" which underpin much of their "leaders" thoughts, will, at the exact same time, consistently refuse to acknowledge and apply the very same principles to the subject of theirs, and others, personal moralities, which will [in close detail] always main unique to each individual, no matter what.

    And so it goes... :-)

    Regards, onebornfree

  12. Rothbard writes this on rights..

    He makes the example of freedom of expression as property right. In doing so he make arguments as those.. Minorances are protected better by property rights.. Real freedom of speech, and expression is better protected by property rights.. Freedom in religion too.. And so on..

    He shows to care about minorances, freedom of speech, religious freedom, etc.. and about the goal many people generally defend speaking of human rights. And i like this. He is not saying "property rights and f**k with the rest".

    Libertarianism doesen't imply to be a nice person, to care about others, to respect everybody, etc.. This is culture and habits. But libertarianism in reality will always be woven with culture and habits. In theory you can be a racist, a homophobic, a suprematist, a misoginist, an asshole libertarian. But in reality is very difficult, as hate and strong disgust for someone often is the start for aggressions. This is no immotivated prejudice but well known reality, and common sense. As we have the rights to discriminate, and to do it as precaution, there is nothing unlibertarian in writing so.

    You say that a rude comment deserve a punch in the nose. I don't agree as this is unlibertarian. But i think it deserve a punishment also if not a phisical aggression. I think that Hoppe and right libertarians makes many rude comment on gay people. They speak of them as garbage. Also some of the people commentino here do the same. So they deserve many "punch in the nose". Gay, jews, muslim, etc.. are minorances. Libertarianism ad rothbard shows will be good for them. To care about this, also if one is not gay himself is good. Good culture, good habit, good mindset. Libertarianism doesen't requires it, but libertarianism is not a complete moral sistem. And the morality of many people requires respect for them. So try to see the

  13. This thing about free speech reminds me of the time that I was living in Beijing, China.

    I was with some other foreigners from the US, Canada, and Europe. In our conversation they were roundly condemning China's abuse of civil rights, in particular free speech. I was stunned just listening to it. Are these people so blind? I thought.

    I then spoke of the thousands of political prisoners in Europe for whom the only crime was speaking or writing, and of the harassment of dissidents in Canada. In this way Canada and Europe are the same as China, the only difference being is that Canada and Europe enforce different taboos to China.

    They were angered that I would compare Canada and Europe to China, after all those people in prison were not there for exercising free speech, rather they were justly put in prison for "hate speech", according to my interlocutors.

    The very odd thing is that you probably have a greater latitude for speech in China than you do in west, with the exception of the USA. In the west you can criticize the government, but not the government enforced ideologies. In China you cannot criticize the government, but otherwise you can criticize whatever you like.

  14. It is a major problem of the NAP that it reduces the wide range of aggressive behavior, which begins with a nasty remark and ends with murder, into a simple yes/no scheme. This requires the introduction of an artificial border, say, between speech (no aggression) and doing something (aggression), and completely ignores the evil of escalation, of violations of "an eye for an eye".

  15. Anonimous perplexed

    I think you - and Matt, Uc, etc.. - are walking on a very similar path as the one taken by Tucker here:

    You are evolving in your thinking about libertarianism over a similar direction: the importance of culture, realistic libertarianism, how to mantein a libertarian order, the importante of other goal stand values.. And so even the necessity of unlibertarianism.. Only you like an other culture, and you focuse on other goals, not the same of Tucker. But the process you are in, is the same.

    There are two different main mindset that can't coexist not even under libertarianism. You can call the two camps as you wish.. Humanitarian and brutalist.. Or in every other way.. Both are theoretically compatible with libertarian theory, and maybe also with a libertarian order in reality, they can't coexist in the same place.

    I know that you care about the difference between libertarianism and left-libertarianism, and so between you and Tucker, but maybe you wish for this difference too much, and accents it more that it exist in reality.