Friday, March 31, 2017

Sloppy Language Results in Sloppy Thinking

I know for some of you this is getting old, but someone has to do the dirty work.

Jacob Hornberger has a piece entitled “A Strong Government Equals a Weak Nation.”

If this is correct – and I agree with it completely – then what would a government that desires to be “strong” want to accomplish?  Before answering the question, let’s clarify the term “nation”:

A nation (from Latin: natio, "people, tribe, kin, genus, class, flock") is a large group or collective of people with common characteristics attributed to them — including language, traditions, mores (customs), habitus (habits), and ethnicity. By comparison, a nation is more impersonal, abstract, and overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.

Consider what unhampered, open borders would do to such a “nation.”  I guess it depends – do the immigrants share “common characteristics” such as “language, traditions, mores (customs), habitus (habits), and ethnicity”?  Or do the immigrants come with substantially different characteristics than the existing population?

For the most part, immigrants during the first 150 years of the American experience held characteristics common to the general population; for the most part, immigrants of the last 50 years of the American experience did not.

So…what would a government that desires to be “strong” choose to do about the “nation” that it governs?  It isn’t a trick question; Jacob gave the answer right in his headline.

What does this suggest about libertarians who advocate for open borders? Either it suggests that they also advocate for strong government or it suggests that they cannot get beyond elementary thinking in libertarian theory or application.

Which is it, Jacob?

Invade the World

So says Murray Rothbard.  Shocking, I know.  I may have to rethink my views of the man.

Rothbard seems to have swallowed every neocon and left-liberal reason for US intervention:

Is someone starving somewhere, however remote from our borders?  That’s a problem for our national interest. Is someone or some group killing some other group anywhere in the world?  That’s our national interest.  Is some government not a “democracy" as defined by our liberal-neocon elites?  That challenges our national interest.  Is someone committing Hate Thought anywhere on the globe?  That has to be solved in our national interest.

I am flabbergasted.  I will leave Rothbard to bury himself in this thinking; I will comment no further until the conclusion (assuming I can contain my rage until then).

OK, the time has come to get tough and to get consistent.  Sanctions are simply the coward's and the babbler's halfway house to war.  We must face the fact that there is not a single country in the world that measures up to the lofty moral and social standards that are the hallmark of the U.S.A.

… I make a Modest Proposal for the only possible consistent and coherent foreign policy: the U.S. must, very soon, Invade the Entire World!

Arrrghhh!!!  It is proving difficult to contain my anger.

A few isolationist, narrow-minded, selfish, callous, and probably anti-Semitic gripers, however, are bound to complain.

I can’t take much more of this.

But what about the Getting Out Party?  What about our universal experience that when U.S. troops get out, the whole aid, infrastructure, etc. go down the drain?  The solution is simple, though it has been far over- looked because some narrow-minded selfish fascist stick-in-the-muds will raise a fuss.  The solution: We Don't Get Out!  Ever.

And of course there are always narrow-minded, backward, selfish dogmatists, who will balk at this program, and claim that it is too "costly:” There are always a few rotters who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

And how does Rothbard end this ode to the neocons?

How do we derail this trend?  How do we Take it Out?

Wait a minute…what’s Rothbard saying?

There is both an anti-war and paleo-grassroots ferment in this country that is heartwarming.

Huh?  Was Rothbard pulling my leg?

Meantime, the least we at Triple R can do is accelerate the Climate of Hate in America, and hope for the best.


Mmmm.  I thought my sarcasm was heavy.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trump Announces He Will be a One-Term President

Assuming he makes it that long.

I think all democrats and neocon republicans (in other words, most republicans) can call off the dogs; Trump has resolved the problem of Trump as President:

President Donald Trump has gone public with his war against the House Freedom Caucus, pushing into full view growing frustration shared by House Speaker Paul Ryan less than a week after the GOP health care bill crashed amid feuding between rival Republican factions.

Trump is joining the Ryan team; swimming in the swamp.

"The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!" Trump tweeted.

I didn’t realize that there was a republican agenda; more than half of the republicans have the agenda to dump Trump.  I suspect most of Trump’s supporters wanted “repeal,” not “replace.”  At least that would be consistent with “Drain the Swamp.”

…if members stand in Trump's way, he'll ditch them -- and conservative principles entirely -- and go looking for Democratic help.

Mmmm.  Is it possible for Trump to win in 2020 running as a democrat?


"It didn't take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment," [Justin Amish], tweeted.

Trump will soon turn off most of his supporters.  They may then decide to elect a real dictator, or perhaps just take matters into their own hands.

But today Trump announced he will be a one-term president.

Mises on Immigration and Nation

Joe Salerno has written an excellent essay, describing the perspective of Ludwig von Mises on the inter-related subjects of political borders, immigration, and nation.  Further, Salerno offers clarity on Mises’s view of liberalism – and it isn’t classical liberalism as generally described.  The entire piece is worth at least two reads; I will here offer only an overview.

Salerno offers:

My purpose in this short essay is to set forth Mises’s views on immigration as he developed them as an integral part of the classical liberal program he elaborated. I shall not attempt to criticize or evaluate his views.

Salerno is the consummate professional; courteous, scholarly, respectful. As I am, on the other hand, a mosquito…I will handle this topic a little differently; not regarding Mises’s views but the views of some in the audience.

Beginning his piece, Salerno offers that many advocates of free immigration point to Mises as a fellow traveler.  But…not so fast:

However, Mises’s views on the free migration of labor across existing political borders were carefully nuanced and informed by political considerations based on his first-hand knowledge of the deep and abiding conflicts between nationalities in the polyglot states of Central and Eastern Europe leading up to World War One and during the subsequent interwar period.

Conflicts between nationalities within the same political boundaries; Mises certainly would know, having lived it.  This leads directly to Mises’s view of “liberalism”:

[Liberalism’s] two fundamental principles were freedom or, more concretely, “the right of self-determination of peoples” and national unity or the “nationality principle.” The two principles were indissolubly linked.

For Mises, self-determination was an individual right; for Mises, the freedom offered by liberalism could not be separated from (or perhaps could not survive without) “national unity.”  There is no “liberalism” without “national unity” (as Salerno describes it: “national unity based on a common language, culture, and modes of thinking and acting”).  If you can remain patient for about 160 words, this seeming contradiction will be explained. 

I know some in the audience choke whenever they see me (and now Mises) using the word “nation,” conflating this idea with “state.”  Mises is not confused (but it would be silly to think he was):

…the nation has a fundamental and relatively permanent being independent of the transient state (or states) which may govern it at any given time.

Read again what Salerno offers for clarification of “national unity” and how this differs from the concept of “state.”  Consider that national unity offers the possibility of a significantly less coercive state.  For Mises, political borders that do not evolve with the nation offered a certainty of internal conflict; political borders that do not respect the nation within it offer conflict as well.

Consider also that this came about naturally – inherent in man’s nature.  Citing Mises:

The formation of [liberal democratic] states comprising all the members of a national group was the result of the exercise of the right of self determination, not its purpose.

Human beings are not atomistic beings; human beings hold emotional and spiritual bonds with other select human beings.  Call these select human beings family, kin, and nation.  In other words, humans are…human.  Salerno offers Rothbard on this point as well:

Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture.

Salerno goes on to describe Mises view of similarities of colonialism and minorities within a political boundary.  In many ways, the treatment by the overlords / majorities of these two groups is similar.

Mises maintains that two or more “nations” cannot peacefully coexist under a unitary democratic government.

And with this, a clue is offered as to why national movements sprung forth at the same time that the state moved toward liberalism and democracy.  Mises, I think, would have expected nothing else.


Thus, concludes Mises, even if the member of the minority nation, “according to the letter of the law, be a citizen with full rights . . . in truth he is politically without rights, a second class citizen, a pariah.”

It is easy to be for open borders, unchecked immigration, and the dismissal of culture when one is a part of the political majority.  Try being the minority for a while; see how that feels. 

Don’t yell at me, take it up with Mises.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Why They Hate Rothbard

Given the foundational work Rothbard has done in developing and furthering libertarian theory, it is interesting to note how he is at best ignored and at worst despised by the broader libertarian movement.

What is more interesting is that Rothbard takes bullets from all sides – in many ways, the one thing many mainstream libertarians and libertine libertarians have in common is this disdain for Rothbard.

Why is that?

Rothbard first points to the mainstream libertarians.  He labels them, the “oxymoronic…Big Government Libertarians.”  In this group, he identifies, in addition to the Libertarian Party…

…a loose network of libertarian and free-market think-tanks, national ones that include lobbying groups, who gravitate inside the Beltway, and state or regional think-tanks, who necessarily remain in the heartland in body if not alas in spirit…

He additionally mentions legal groups, magazines, hard-money newsletters, and so on.  What do all of these Big Government Libertarian institutions have in common?  They have…

…in the last few years, moved at remarkable speed to abandon any shred of their original principles: devotion to minimizing government or defending the rights of private property.

Instead, these groups want to make government more efficient – as if efficiency in the production of “bads” is a good thing.  These Big Government Libertarians crave respectability in and the social acceptance of official Washington.

But there is a lot more at work here.  At bottom is the point which many of us had to learn painfully over the years: there can be no genuine separation between formal political ideology and cultural views and attitudes.

The libertarian political must equal libertine advocacy and acceptance.  Rothbard identifies a strong hatred of the right wing, coming from “a broader and even more intense hatred of Christianity….” 

And in these few short statements, Rothbard himself quickly explains why both the mainstream (Big Government) libertarians hate him and why the libertine libertarians hate him.

He identifies a deep-seated “egalitarianism” in this movement: “Scratch an egalitarian and you will inevitably find a statist.”  Instead of property rights, each individual “has ‘rights’ that must not be subject to curtailment by any form of ‘discrimination.’”

This despite the fact that “discrimination” is inherent in any meaningful definition of property rights.

And so, flying in the face of their former supposed devotion to the absolute rights of private property, the libertarian movement has embraced every phony and left-wing “right” that has been manufactured in recent decades.

The alphabet soup of all-invented-gender rights comes to mind.

…“civil rights” has been embraced without question, completely overriding the genuine rights of private property.

As an example of one who embraces this libertine, civil rights philosophy, Rothbard writes of a “favored” presidential candidate in 1996: Massachusetts Republican Governor William Weld, driven by his devotion to “gay rights.”

Yes, that William Weld.  Support gay rights and Hillary Clinton for president and you qualify to run on the LP ticket in 2016.

Instead of defending property rights, libertarians have become “fiscally conservative, but socially tolerant.”  Make government efficient, advocate and demand support for all lifestyle choices.  Mainstream and libertine libertarians fit the bill perfectly.

An important plank in this social tolerance is an insistence that “open borders” is a human right and a position that must be held by every proper libertarian.  Anyone who dares deviate from the position of “open borders” is “automatically and hysterically denounced as racist, fascist, sexist, heterosexist, xenophobic, and the rest of the panoply of smear terms that lie close at hand.”

And this has apparently become the unpardonable sin, blaspheming against the holy spirit of mainstream, libertine libertarianism.


The elite have as an objective the destruction of western civilization; a culture of classical liberalism grounded in Christian morality is a challenge to the growth of state power.  The elite have as an objective the maintaining of “government” as that term is understood today. 

The elite have found fellow-travelers in the libertine and Big Government Libertarians, respectively.

And this is why they hate Rothbard.