Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Doldrums



Doldrums: a state of inactivity or stagnation; a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

My writing has slowed down a lot in the last few weeks.  I will offer the least impactful reasons first, and then spend a few words on the most impactful.

By least impactful, I mean in terms of sustained damage.  The real-world has made its presence felt in my life during the last few weeks – as it does from time to time throughout every year.  Between a couple of personal things and an increased workload in the part of my life that puts food on the table…well, there you go.  This has happened before, it will happen again.  It will pass.

Also least impactful: I am reading two books, neither of which I find very worthy of writing extensive posts.  But I feel I should finish the books – maybe get one post out of each one…or something.

The most impactful: let’s call it a mental Block – and I capitalize this purposefully.  In looking back on the last few weeks, I can see that the slowdown began after writing the two posts on The Libertarian Case for Israel, co-authored by, among others, Walter Block (here and here).

Now – this struggle didn’t spring up from whole cloth.  As regular readers know, I have butted heads with Block on some very important topics in libertarian theory and application to the real world: abortion, open borders and immigration, government-controlled land, etc. 

First and foremost, I like Walter (to the extent one can know a person via email exchanges and online debates).  He engages more than any other with whom I have had disagreement – and remains civil while doing so (an example several others have failed to follow).

I have sometimes grown frustrated with his replies.  At least from my perspective: not dealing with the key points, accepting the proposition but dismissing it by saying “you take it too far” (as if that’s a libertarian argument – and is if Walter doesn’t take almost everything too far!), forgetting where we left the conversation and returning to points that I have already countered.  Further, Block – while maintaining that he is culturally conservative – writes in the most left-libertarian tradition (see his Defendable series).

My struggle began, I think with Walter’s comment of libertarianism as the one true faith.  I chewed on this for a month before writing about it.  Libertarianism is a faith in…nothing (and I do not mean that disparagingly – but I guess I do if one believes it to be the one true faith).

But it was this exchange regarding Israel that seems to have finally sent me akilter.  A couple of examples:

Much of the land currently under dispute was homesteaded by Jews before the territory was even called “Palestine,” when it was in fact called “Judea”. …if modern day Jews can prove descent from the original Jewish homesteaders, which we demonstrate they can both culturally and genetically…

Why are we departing from strict libertarian principles at this point?  We do so in order to insert ourselves into the “mainstream” discussion that takes place in the United Nations, in negotiations between various countries, etc. 

I won’t write more about this now – if you are interested and have not previously read my thoughts on these whoppers (and more), click the links.

I thought it couldn’t get worse.  But it got worse.  I won’t cite Block’s words, but mine in response:

This is troubling; I don’t know how else to say it.  Walter – knowing that the immigrants bring with them a liberty-destroying philosophy into a land that embraces an equal right to influence government – is willing to allow liberty-destroying immigrants the opportunity to further destroy his liberty – and mine. 

Conclusion

I would rather not write a conclusion right now.  This “conclusion” is what has me stuck.  I don’t want to write it, but I am not sure I can avoid it.

Doldrums: a state of inactivity or stagnation; a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.  I may remain in the doldrums until I deal with this.

77 comments:

  1. Conclusion = Block is a left-libertarian

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    1. I imagine Roderick Long would disagree.

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  2. Perhaps if you focus on the areas of agreement with Block outside of the inconsistencies you've pointed out/dissected, it might lift your spirits.

    You're right, Block is genuinely a good guy even if he's not logically sound/consistent in some areas.

    Certainly it'd be very difficult for him to recant the entire "Defending" series on the basis that allowing libertine behaviors in society might undermine the cultural soil that yields more libertarian outcomes- especially given how much he invested in it, purely on an emotional basis.

    Further, if we look at someplace like Amsterdam it becomes less clear that is a "given".

    I've enjoyed your exploration and discussions over the importance of culture in libertarian outcomes, and I agree. Culture is a very complex topic by it's nature, hence the safety of pushing decentralization(logically speaking) and by it's product more "choice" for those wishing to fit into a specific culture.

    I've spent years considering just how a more libertarian society might come about...looking for some shred of "hope" in my own "doldrums", only to consider that a "Louisiana purchase" on a privatized level as having a good chance of happening down the road.

    I think of the "seasteading" movement going on, or the failed Chilean libertarian movement, or Doug Casey's Argentina thing...etc. et al

    There are bound to be more and eventually some will hold.

    Those espousing "open borders" views will never be admitted to such a community in many cases and will have to reflect on their viewpoints.(if they value private property)

    Let us not forget that Block routinely makes the call to "Privatize everything!" which is really saying alot, even if he fails strategically in blending libertarian philosophy with the reality of today. He's not the first to suffer from that malady, nor will he be the last, and I'd wager that all of us to some extent have been guilty of it to some degree as we grow(or not) in libertarian philosophy/understanding.

    Take a break and cheer up! Find something else to talk about for a while.

    -An admirer

    :)

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    1. “Perhaps if you focus on the areas of agreement with Block outside of the inconsistencies you've pointed out/dissected, it might lift your spirits….You're right, Block is genuinely a good guy even if he's not logically sound/consistent in some areas.”

      Someone comes to your house to rob you and rape your daughters. You open the door, hand them your firearm, and welcome them in.

      Communists invade America with helicopters and tanks – we would know what to do and we have seen the movie – “Red Dawn.”

      But the communists come without weapons and this is OK – even though they come to rob you and rape your daughters. Even knowing their intent, you hand them your firearms while welcoming them into your front door.

      The firearm you hand them is the ballot; it is the politician looking to find more sheep who will give the politician a platform from which to rob you and rape your daughters.

      Block knows that they are coning to rob him and rape his daughters. He welcomes them, knowing this; he hands them his firearms knowing this. And Block says this is perfectly libertarian.

      When Wenzel said it was perfectly libertarian for the farmer to shoot a child for picking an apple, I said “if this is perfectly libertarian, it is a dead theory to me.”

      I say the same about Block’s view. What common ground shall I hold with one who advocates that “the one true faith” is suicide?

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    2. "What common ground shall I hold with one who advocates that “the one true faith” is suicide?"

      I'll repeat one of my earlier statements:

      "Let us not forget that Block routinely makes the call to "Privatize everything!" which is really saying alot, even if he fails strategically in blending libertarian philosophy with the reality of today."

      You two hold that very important notion in common.(I'm assuming you do, if not, please correct me.)

      On that basis, and as I noted in my argument above, Block has shown that he is philosophically inconsistent and making a strategic error.

      Hyperbole aside, my belief is that Block doesn't equate his philosophical/strategic error with welcoming in rapists or communists and the obvious end result.

      If he did, he'd be a complete moron- and I don't believe he is.(yet)

      My belief is that Block is simply underestimating the impact of allowing unfettered immigration from 3rd world "shitholes" on what's left of our property rights respecting population.

      So I don't quite see Block's opinion as willful as you do. As someone else noted previously, naive might be the best description.

      You've had a discussion to try illuminate to him what I think is the obvious, unsuccessfully, but it doesn't change the fact he believes in privatizing everything which by it's nature results in discrimination/freedom of association and border control. So again, you two have that in common. Focusing on that might help you "see the good in him" to quote Luke Skywalker and not be so down.

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    3. Please understand clearly, and I will say this as simply as possible: I did not fall into the doldrums because of Block's open borders position - I have known of this for years and debated it with him many times.

      I fell into the doldrums because he holds open borders for communists. Think long about what that means to the future of liberty in a place like the United States.

      This isn't merely "philosophically inconsistent and making a strategic error." It is suicide.

      What good is his desire to privatize everything after he opens the borders to avowed communists?

      As you seem quite interested in convincing me of something, I would appreciate that you convince me that you understand my point - and then address it directly.

      I would say Block is stupid, but I know he is not. Where that leaves us I don't know. But it leaves me in the doldrums.

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    4. "As you seem quite interested in convincing me of something"

      Yes, to "cheer up" and that your instincts on Block are right, he's a decent person even though as you deem it, "suicidal"(and I'm not disagreeing). The US has been going commie for some time now and I can assure you it's not due to Block.

      My belief is the argument is won(you won it), he hasn't come around yet but eventually he will(he's stubborn, not stupid) because I don't ever see him revoking his "privatize everything" statement.

      So cheer up, have faith, etc.

      :)

      "I would appreciate that you convince me that you understand my point - and then address it directly."

      I felt like I did and have again. Do you disagree?

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    5. "Cheer up."

      Eventually, as always.

      Block has crushed something that I hold dear; he is not the first well-known libertarian (or, alternatively, one that I have a relationship with) to do this, he won't be the last.

      I want to believe that I have handled better with each passing event. As I am running out of individuals to look up to in this movement, let's hope the trail of destruction ends soon.

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    6. " As I am running out of individuals to look up to in this movement"

      It's always dangerous putting people on pedestals, including Hoppe, Rothbard, Rockwell, etc.

      I love what each of the above have to say on the whole, yet there's always some area of thought under which I disagree with them.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good

      I'd still drink a beer with all of them and find a way to have a good time and appreciate the areas they have "right". (in my equally capable of being wrong mind that is and still yet I share MOST of my viewpoints in common with them)

      Let us also remember that libertarianism is a relatively new study in political science and like all science stands on the shoulders of multiple fallible men over time to produce something greater than it's parts:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants

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    7. "Let us also remember that libertarianism is a relatively new study in political science..."

      Really, how much study is required to know that communism does not result in liberty?

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    8. "Really, how much study is required to know that communism does not result in liberty?"

      lol, not much- but my point is that men that have contributed to any science have been varied in their contributions as a science develops and over the years you can take the "good" and leave the "bad".

      Block understands the evil of communism, he just doesn't connect the dots between allowing people libertarian freedoms up to the point their personal choices start violate the freedoms of others. So for example, it's weirdly libertarian to allow people to form a voluntary commune but it's obviously not libertarian to allow them to establish a commune in areas or over people that don't want it.

      Block has a blind spot in that he isn't yet recognizing his anti-state policies in some areas end up with more NAP violations, but I'm not yet ready to attribute this blind spot to mal intent, "joo" conspiracy(and I'm not saying there is no "joo" conspiracy either-AIPAC, but I am saying Block isn't involved), etc. Especially in light other times he's pointed out Jews as a whole lean commie in a negative sense.

      Further, Block has written about a lot of "good" things when it comes to libertarianism in general and pushed it in positive directions in other areas over his career.

      Just because he's a moron on this topic doesn't mean we should discard the rest of his contributions or attribute it to nefarious intent.

      I was I could smack him upside his head, intellectually speaking:

      "Listen up Blockhead, just because we all know private policing would be better in every way, shape and form than the current state run version doesn't mean we encourage them to stop investigating crime(real) or trying to prevent it."

      Block might argue that illegal immigration isn't crime, but he ignores the idea that a vote for communism by said person or the use of "public" services constitutes more NAP violations and even ends up changing the cultural make up of society to a degree that it brings on more forced communism. The Founders were pretty smart in that area with the notion of the "natural born citizen" clause.

      Hornberger has the same blind spot(adding to the "joo" conspiracy notion) and I know it's infuriating, but rather than give them/the topic rent space in your head it's probably best to move for a variety of reasons IMO. You and others won the debate a long time ago, they just haven't accepted it yet.

      I will however, and you should too, point it out to people that haven't heard the debate yet or don't understand it.

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    9. "That Block, our crazy uncle."

      Sure, insiders like us can laugh about this and move on (me, not so successfully). To anyone who reads "more communism equals more liberty," it is just example 1,347,829 of "libertarians are kooks."

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    10. "To anyone who reads "more communism equals more liberty," it is just example 1,347,829 of "libertarians are kooks."

      Agreed. That's why it's incumbent upon us to some degree to explain the variance of opinion within libertarian thought to outsiders and the concept of "standing on shoulders", review, etc.

      Libertarians have been accused, rightfully so IMO, of getting wrapped up into esoteric debate at the expense of seeing the big picture(like in this case) and/or convincing people.

      There is a positive and negative to "thinking outside the box" as most libertarians do. In this case, the negative is on full display.

      While it's important to try hammer out SOME details of libertarianism/voluntaryism/NAP, we should try to limit the internal/esoteric debates to ourselves IMO for the good of the movement as a whole, and not get so caught up in who's "right" on these topics to the degree we always fight with each other, ruin friendships, assume the worst, etc. within out own community.

      Sometimes it's "ok" to just agree to disagree and focus on the larger picture and remain allies/friends. (of course, this is subjective)

      Since we're on the topic of libertarian kookiness and it's potential impact on how outsiders view us, here's an example that really pissed me off:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olYx5LILl34

      Now granted, I'm no participant in the political system at this moment, nor a card carrying member of the LP party, but I'm more worried about moron's like this in terms of it's impact on peoples perceptions of "libertarianism" than the hoi polloi stumbling across a debate on the order by which privatization should be undertaken on some obscure libertarian blog(no offense). (let alone them understanding the why's or even taking the time to read the whole debate)

      Even further, what pisses me off is not so much the stripping moron, but the LP that somehow managed to let this happen in their venue- with national coverage none the less. Any who would say, "Well the Bush's/Clinton's are well behaved but horrible people and this guy is a much better person!" are totally missing the point you allude to.

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    11. The points on which I have been most spun up:

      1) It is acceptable within the NAP to shoot a child for stealing an apple.

      2) More communism equals more liberty.

      Both are certain to eliminate the possibility that sane people would consider libertarianism.

      Other topics where I have at least retained some composure:

      1) Abortion

      2) The value of a generally acceptable tradition / culture in maintaining a peaceful society.

      And of course, just about everything coming out of the LP....

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    12. "1) It is acceptable within the NAP to shoot a child for stealing an apple."

      I wouldn't worry about this one. I mean, I worry about the morons parading this as a libertarian remedy for crime prevention, but it certainly wouldn't be a part of an existing libertarian society. People who behaved this way would be killed by angry relatives of the child.

      Sooner or later the reciprocity of violence in response to aggression would be ingrained into conceptions of justice. I think any society which has achieved liberty would have already discovered the need for and moral sanctity of proportional (rather than utilitarian) violence in response to aggression, but I suppose this may depend heavily on local cultural values. Then again, I don't believe a society could achieve liberty without a high degree of wholesome traditional and moral values.

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    13. "Both are certain to eliminate the possibility that sane people would consider libertarianism."

      I agree!

      Odds are though, that most people wouldn't run across these opinions in their initial foray into understanding "libertarianism" and even further, they'd be exposed to the countervailing arguments if they did.

      "Other topics where I have at least retained some composure:"

      Yes, that's a good thing and I happen to agree with everything you wrote on these topics and your articles on culture have contributed greatly to remedying the other topics that have spun you up.

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    14. ATL, my point is...with friends like this, who needs enemies?

      I don't care that they make fools of themselves; it is harmful to the brand that individuals held up as exemplars of the brand stand on such soapboxes.

      But maybe this is irrelevant - maybe we should stop worrying about the value in the terms "libertarian" or "non-aggression principle."

      Want to come up a new one?

      :-)

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    15. "Want to come up [with] a new one?"

      I've thought about this too, but I haven't come up with anything good.

      1.) I believe (as I think you do) in the validity and necessity of a natural aristocracy in maintaining a free society, though entry and exit from this position of authority should be fluid and determined by voluntary affirmation rather than solely by kin-right.

      Aristotarian = one who believes in aristocracy tempered by the libertarian non-aggression principle and self ownership. That would certainly scare lefties away and it would demonstrate our respect for the Hoppean/Tolkienist positive analysis of the European Middle Ages. Also not a bad thing to be misunderstood as simply a follower of the thought of Aristotle.

      2.) Maybe we should emphasize the libertarian right of discrimination (based on any criterion whatsoever) founded on exclusive property rights. Egalitarians will just love this one.

      Discriminatarian = libertarian who is not shy about the implications of private property regarding exclusion of undesirables from society.

      3.) If the non-aggression principle is the skeletal framework of a free society, then personal virtue is the flesh and blood. Perhaps we should emphasize the importance of this in the name.

      Virtutarian = libertarian committed to virtues of Greco-Roman antiquity and the Catholic Middle Ages balanced by the modern libertarian axioms of non-aggression and self ownership.

      4.) Perhaps we should make it crystal clear that kids cannot be raped, molested, or killed as punishment for property rights infractions in a free society.

      contrachildrapetarian - pretty self explanatory but perhaps a bit too specific...

      Just some thoughts. I do believe you have the sway to start a new name should you choose to do so. Remember that with great power comes great responsibility! =)

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    16. A natural aristocracy combined with a Christian ethic...

      On point 2, in case you haven't seen this:

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-conundrum-of-liberty.html

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    17. Thanks for link. I enjoyed the read, and, as with most things written by you, I agree.

      How about this one?

      5.) Subsidiarian = a libertarian who is guided by the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity in both attaining and maintaining a libertarian order.

      "Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them." - Pope Pius XI

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidiarity_(Catholicism)

      Aside from being a mouthful, the principle of subsidiarity can be twisted to justify centralizing tendencies, if people believe local communities handle problems insufficiently. But according to Robert Vischer, author of "Subsidiarity as a Principle of Governance," this reliance on central authority should only be temporary until local communities are capable of handling the issue.

      "Larger social bodies, be they the state or otherwise, are permitted and required to intervene only when smaller ones cannot carry out the tasks themselves. Even in this case, the intervention must be temporary and for the purpose of empowering the smaller social body to be able to carry out such functions on its own." - Vischer

      https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol35p103.pdf

      Subsidiarity is not perfectly libertarian, but it is also not inconsistent with it, and I cannot fathom a better single principle of getting us from here to there.

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  3. If libertarianism is the one trve faith then you should have no other, but it is not *true* that Block puts libertarian principle before everything else. His support for Zionism conflicts with his libertarianism despite his efforts to make it seem otherwise. Also of note is his lack of application of his "principles" to Israel. If America needs open borders now per libertarian "principles" then obviously Israel does too.

    IMO the answer to this riddle is actually very simple. Block does not care about the demographic composition of America but does care about the demographic composition of Israel. I also believe he is smart enough to know that there will be no great libertarian reform in America and so he isn't really thinking about the political future like you or I would but as an academic with only a passing interest in reality.

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    1. UC, you nailed it. Thanks.

      (Hey, I can do short comments!)

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  4. I have read Block. I have read Tucker. They say many things that I can agree with. They say many things that I feel are wrong but, since it's a feeling and not encased in an intellectual argument, I can't defend myself.

    Bionic, I appreciate your last post "An Open Letter to Walter Block". It helped me crystallize my feeling that the open borders which Mr. Block espouses is wrong and why it's wrong. Example after historical example demonstrates that an open border policy is tantamount to cultural and societal suicide and even racial genocide.

    Now, as was pointed out by one of the commenters in that post, what's so great about our society and culture that it matters whether we preserve it? The answer, as I see it, is not that our culture is so great but that most cultures are racially or religiously based. An invasion of a different culture will mean first; conflict in belief systems if one or both faiths believe in imposing that belief on others and second; racial conflict - no matter what the PC crowd says, I can't choose my race, nor could I convince others of another race that I'm "one of them".

    At best, I wind up marginalized. At worst, I and my entire family winds up dead.

    I'm not saying that tolerance is no virtue. What I am saying is that most societies and cultures are intolerant and will take advantage of more tolerant societies ...

    ... Which reminds me of an old Get Smart episode called "All in the Mind" where Smart is interviewing Dr. Stueben, president of the "Psychologist Society for Mental Health and Adjustment Through Fulfillment"

    Smart: What kind of an organization is that?

    Stueben: We're a hate group.

    Smart: A hate group?

    Stueben: Oh, in the sense that we cure hate and fear. We hate hate. Hate it!

    Hope you have a better day, Bionic ... : )

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  5. I agree with Hoppe. The disorderly migration is a trojan horse against the little bit of freedom that is still left in the United States. I'm Brazilian, but God save America.
    https://subversivoxxi.blogspot.com.br/

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  6. You say that cultural values must be upheld in addition to the NAP, but I still wonder if the NAP is sufficient in itself. That is, once everyone is compelled to abide by it, there will also be costs to violating those other norms. E.g. if all public spaces are privatized, then there is no ground on which you can stand (except your own) where you can speak freely and voice anti-libertarian views. There is no need to impose some extra restraint on un-libertarian speech in addition to the ban on aggression; libertarian property owners will naturally be inclined to forbid any anti-libertarian speech on their own property without violating the NAP.

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    1. "that is, once everyone is compelled to abide by it"

      Herein lies the problem. Even if in a libertarian stateless society the incentive structure alone compels libertarian behavior regardless of culture, whether or not this is true, that still leaves us in the pickle of how to get there from here. And culture will be vitally important in this endeavor.

      I would argue that maintaining a libertarian order once achieved will also require cultural strength and cohesion.

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    2. "That is, once everyone is compelled to abide by it..."

      In order that I am not merely repeating ATL, I ask you to read this sentence over and over and over again; dwell on it... meditate...pray.

      Eventually, you will understand my point.

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  7. It is good to take a break. It gives you time to digest accumulated information. Doing pbysical labor helps you stay anchored in reality.
    Never trust a philosopher that does no manual labor. Farmers make some of the best natural philosophers.

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  8. Walter Block advocates for theory over practice. In theory the immigrants come in and do not harm the locals. In practice they come in and harm locals, and impose costs on locals.

    Its OK if it remains in the hypothetical realm. No one should tolerate it as a real world policy proposal. Here is an idea - the problem with Block is that he has no skin in the game, and is thus subject to moral hazard. To avoid the moral hazard, Block and people like him that advocate for open borders should be directly responsible for those costs.

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    1. I think Walter is the one who is faithful to the original Rothbardian strategy, the one where Rothbard advocates support for any retraction of state control (regardless of consequence) and where he upholds the idea that public property is unowned and denies that the state has any legitimate role in restricting access or use of that property (see Rothbard's discussion in Ethics, which distills his early thought and was published just before his thinking started to shift on this question).

      I think Rothbard himself towards the end started to appreciate why this was a bad strategy and Hoppe has developed the theoretical framework for this shift in strategy. Public property is not unowned after all but belongs to the taxpayers and therefore the state has a responsibility to protect that property on behalf of the taxpayer.

      I agree Block, like early Rothbard, is wrong and needs to update his theory, but I think it's uncharitable to argue that Block is arguing this line out of mere selfishness. I think he is just too wedded to "classic" Rothbardianism.

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    2. "I think it's uncharitable to argue that Block is arguing this line out of mere selfishness."

      This is an excellent point and I agree.

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    3. jgress, your point about Rothbard's intellectual evolution is something I might write on if I decide to write a follow-up to this post.

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  9. Block embodies the same contradiction as Mercer and their Zionist ilk. At least Ilana comes out plainly and says she is a Zionist.

    What bothers me about the libertarian Zionists is the moral hoops they jump through to justify their position. Tom Woods had a debate on his show with a Zionist and someone else arguing in favour of Palestine. The Zionist said (and I paraphrase) he was not aware of any genocide taking place but he assumes his fellow debater has done his research so perhaps there is some truth. I found this statement to be callous and appalling. It is one thing to be pro-Israel (and the Palestinians are not saints), it is completely another to gloss over, ignore or feign ignorance over such brutality.

    Block's argument for Jewish right to land partly based on genetics is nonsense. Cue the inevitable Biblical hand-waving. The idea that injustice to ancestors by dead oppressors can be remedied by denying property rights to current Palestinians is bizarre.

    It's a wonder they don't start petitioning the Italians for compensation in the Jewish war with the Romans. Taking a page from the confederate statue nonsense, maybe they will start asking for the Italians to tear down works like The Coliseum. Since it was built with Jewish slave labour, they are symbols of oppression.

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    1. I'm not exactly fond of defending Israel but if the Israelis are intent on genociding the Palestinians they suck really friggin badly at it, given that the Palestinian population is overwhelmingly very young and their TFR is somewhere betwwen 3.5 and 4, with only the welfare dependent Hasidics beating them out at a TFR over 5(!).

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    2. paid shill,

      Unimportant. Have a look at the actually territory occupied by the Palestinians. While they have a high birthrate, their exclusive breeding grounds are actually decreasing, and they will eventually have none at all.

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    3. Last I checked, Israeli "Defense" Forces kill six Palestinian civilians for every Israeli civilian Palestinian terrorists kill. If that's not genocide, it certainly verges on massacre, especially in combination with expulsion.

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  10. BM,

    Walter Block and likeability, I don't know. Doesn't seem the likeable type to me. Self centered and sometimes endearingly out of touch perhaps. Like some weird and intelligent unmarried uncle (he isn't married, is he? Can't be).

    So you like the fact that he engages in polemics more often than others and that he stays civil while handling tough counter-arguments. Why?

    Do you admire him for this trait (civility in polemics) that admittedly wasn't always part of your own online make-up? You think of Walter as an example in that department and that it would be kinda uncivil to smoke him out of his remote tower of high libertarian theory? If so, I completely understand.

    So see you after the doldrums. Stay the course.

    I think the whole NAP is not enough/Culture & Tradition/Open Borders issue is crucial for "getting libertarianism right" and in that regard it is my opinion that the legalistic sophisms of Walter "Marriage is Prostitution" Block are no asset to the Mises Institute, to put it mildly.

    Cheers from Amsterdam,
    Richard

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    1. "...that it would be kinda uncivil to smoke him out of his remote tower..."

      Precisely the issue with which I struggle....

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    2. "Precisely the issue with which I struggle..."

      You can smoke him out while being civil, they aren't mutually exclusive concepts.

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    3. "Civil, maybe. Kind? Not likely."

      You're the man to do this in a civil way. Consider it a personal test. You don't even have to do it now, you can let him stew a bit in his own contradictions for a while, just never cede ground to him because you're right.

      You can be civil and hit him hard intellectually:

      "I'm sorry Dr. Block, but the notion that we should welcome commies into the country and give them voting rights while arguing for private property rights is so ridiculous I'm not sure I can entertain much more debate on the topic, especially arguing with someone that wants everything privatized to start."

      I'd do it, but I'm a nobody in the community and he definitely won't listen to me. But I'm not yet ready to assume the worst about the man because he's not yet untwisted himself from his logical inconsistencies. I say give him time and the benefit of the doubt. (for now)

      Delete
    4. Well, I have written a new post - so now you can judge if I handled it well.

      I just wish I saw your comment before I wrote it - nice statement!

      Delete
    5. "I'm a nobody in the community and he definitely won't listen to me."
      The mark of true humility is the ability to learn from any source - children, old people, books you disagree with, even cartoons. Heck, some of my first libertarian ideas were gleaned from the original Star Trek series.

      To a humble and thinking man, it's not the source: it's the meaning.

      Delete
  11. Meanwhile, on today's LRC, another illustration of what is wrong.

    Block about Rothbard and his split with official libertarianism:

    "I regard the paleolibertarianism of Murray Rothbard as an effort to make a alliance with the right, just as he joined the Peace and Freedom movement with me following him (and supported the Progressive Labor Maoist wing of that organization) in an attempt to ally with the left (so as to oppose the US war in Vietnam). So, I am, I was, a paleolibertarian, and also a member of P&F, in support of Murray’s efforts to promote liberty. But, only provisionally, in attempt to change real world events. In terms of pure philosophy, I reject both."

    Luckily, there's a way to find out if this move by Rothbard was nothing more than a "political tactic" as Block makes it out to have been.

    Here's Rothbard with his final say on the matter in a few quotes (1993):

    "Libertarianism is logically consistent with almost any attitude toward culture, society, religion, or moral principle. In strict logic, libertarian political doctrine can be severed from all other considerations; logically one can be – and indeed most libertarians in fact are: hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion in general and Christianity in particular – and still be consistent adherents of libertarian politics. [..] Strictly logically, one can do these things, but psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way."

    I've emphasized that last part.
    It is almost as if I hear BM trying to talk some sense into Walter Block.

    "Part of this grandiose separatism [*deliberately cutting itself of from culture or tradition in the United States*], which I did not fully realize at the time, stemmed from an intense hatred of the right-wing, from libertarian anxiety never to be connected with or labeled as a conservative or a right-wing movement. And part of that hatred has come from a broader and even more intense hatred of Christianity, some of which was taken over from Ayn Rand."

    Think of the following in the context of the ongoing open borders discussion:

    "Libertarians are fervently committed to the notion that, while each individual might not be “equal” to every other, that every conceivable group, ethnic contingent, race, gender, or, in some cases, species, are in fact and must be made “equal,” that each one has “rights” that must not be subject to curtailment by any form of “discrimination.”

    And finally this, about his life as a paleolibertarian:

    "Shortly before I left the libertarian movement and Party five years ago, a decision which I not only have never regretted but am almost continually joyous about, I told two well-known leaders of the movement that I thought it had become infected with and permeated by egalitarianism."

    Now why would Rothbard be continually joyous about a decision that - according to Block - was based on mere political manoeuvring?

    I've seen this time and again with the open border libertarians. They misrepresent Rothbard, usually to make him appear in agreement with their position. And if they can't do that, because of Rothbard's choice for paleolibertarianism, they try to marginalize this essential move and the arguments he provided why he did so.

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    1. As noted in my comment to jgress, above, I will incorporate Rothbard's intellectual evolution into a follow-up to this post (if I choose to write one).

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    2. I'd be interested to see your comments on this!

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    3. Hi BM & jgress,

      Follow-up and follow through. Looking forward to that one of course. Saw you guys talking about HHH's God that failed, so BM, perhaps the footnote on pages 206-208 could be of some assistance (Rothbard's "Why Paleo"/not diet). I had to cut it down somewhat, for brevity's (*cough*) sake.

      It's about the Modal Libertarian:

      "The ML is fairly bright, and fairly well steeped in libertarian theory. But he knows nothing and cares less about history, culture, the context of reality or world affairs. [...] He is especially opposed to institutions of social and cultural authority: in particular against the bourgeoisie from whom he stemmed, against bourgeois norms and conventions, and against such institutions of social authority as churches.

      To the ML, then, the State is not a unique problem; it is only the most visible and odious of many hated bourgeois institutions: hence the zest with which the ML sports the button, "Question Authority." [...] And hence, too, the fanatical hostility of the ML toward Christianity. I used to think that this militant atheism was merely a function of the Randianism out of which most modem libertarians emerged two decades ago. But atheism is not the key, for let someone in a libertarian gathering announce that he or she is a witch or a worshiper of crystal-power or some other New Age hokum, and that person will be treated with great tolerance and respect. It is only Christians that are subject to abuse, and clearly the reason for the difference in treatment has nothing to do with atheism. But it has everything to do with rejecting and spurning bourgeois American culture; and any kind of kooky cultural cause will be encouraged in order to tweak the noses of the hated bourgeoisie. [...]

      In point of fact, the original attraction of the ML to Randianism was part and parcel of his adolescent rebellion: what better way to rationalize and systematize rejection of one's parents, family, and neighbors than to join a cult which denounces religion and which trumpets the absolute superiority of yourself and your cult leaders, as contrasted to the robotic "second-handers" who supposedly people the bourgeois world?

      A cult, furthermore, which calls upon you to spurn your parents, family, and bourgeois associates, and to cultivate the alleged greatness of your own individual ego (suitably guided, of course, by Randian leadership). [...] The ML, if he has a real world occupation, such as an accountant or lawyer, is generally a lawyer without a practice, and accountant without a job."


      Hold it right there! That's Walter Block being described to a tee: "Lawyer without a practice."

      So Rothbard i.m.o. made the grave error of endorsing Block's first Undefendable book. He later admitted that he made a mistake in the '70s by not seeing the left-Libertarian hatred towards Christianity (see quotes posted earlier, "didn't notice at the time"). So Rothbard developed and learned from his oversight, but Block didn't. And neither did those, apparently, who took this man aboard the LvMI. (When was this, btw, after he was kicked out of the Fraser Institute?). A man who was famous for having written that bizarre mixture of sometimes brilliant logic and stupefying social and psychological unworldliness ("wereldvreemdheid" in Dutch) and on top of that a clear agenda to indeed, like in Rothbard's description above, "épater le bourgeois".

      Take care,
      Richard

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  12. Libertarianism is the philosophical lack of faith in the necessity or the legitimacy of organized aggression, and for good reason, but, as we've spoken of before, this is not enough to build a peaceful and prosperous society.

    The reciprocal of our lack of faith in the merits of aggression (first force), is our faith in the harmony of interests among those who engage in voluntary exchange and association. Both exchange and association imply norms of ownership of property, whether of self or of external goods. This means libertarians, by 'outlawing' aggression, demonstrate faith in social organization by means of the division of resources into private property units, which are acquired by homesteading (first use) and voluntary exchange.

    What libertarians like Block don't fully appreciate is that libertarianism requires a cultural soil that respects private property, and that cultures without a history of respect for private property cannot be expected to become libertarian overnight. We can't even expect this from Americans. In light of this, open border immigration from areas with a large degree of psychic infection from the socialist (anti-property) mindset is a recipe for a loss of liberty for all.

    It's like debating whether we should let more people onto a sinking boat we're currently trying to bail out, when these people don't know how to bail water out of a boat. Their weight and lack of bailing (or bailing in the wrong direction!) will only hasten the sundering of the boat, and at that point we won't be free, we'll be drowned.

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    1. Hi ATL,

      Couldn't agree more, or say it any better. Really like the sinking boat metaphor (Dutch eh?).

      I don't want to invoke Rothbard at every turn like some paleolibertarian oracle, but..

      Since people like Block are still somehow claiming to follow in his footsteps, I'd like to throw this one in, and call it a day, just to make absolutely sure that Rothbard's final say about the (official) libertarian devotion to open borders is clear as day:

      "Part of “social tolerance,” of course, is uncritical and unlimited devotion to open borders; as in the case of most left liberals and all neocons, any proposal for any reason to restrict immigration or even to curb the flow of illegals, is automatically and hysterically denounced as racist, fascist, sexist, heterosexist, xenophobic, and the rest of the panoply of smear terms that lie close to hand."

      Seems clear to me that Block can only call Rothbard to his aid if he studiously ignores this (or tries to explain it away as "just political tactics," as he did).

      Why this guy is still on the Mises Institute team? No idea.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,
      Richard

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    2. As I said above, Block's views are very close to early Rothbard, including on immigration. It is a fact that Rothbard supported open borders up until his late paleo period. In his essay on Nations by Consent he admits that he had changed his mind on the topic. You can read his earlier views on immigrations in Power and Market and see that he was very much in favor of open immigration and denigrated those who opposed it as the equivalent of protectionists.

      As I also said above, this doesn't mean early Rothbard was right on this subject, but supporting open borders is certainly consistent with what the great man had taught for most of his career.

      The Mises Institute is likewise not monolithically Hoppean and anti-immigration (Ryan McMaken some good nuanced positions on this topic from time to time, for instance). There is no reason to exclude Block simply for this issue.

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    3. "There is no reason to exclude Block simply for this issue."

      I know you are responding to Richard with this comment, but I feel it appropriate to butt in.

      See my reply to Anonymous January 30, 2018 at 10:50 AM near the top of the comment section. Block describes that libertarians must knowingly accept suicide as the one true faith. This isn't a small thing.

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    4. Hi jgress,

      All of what you say is correct. So why should I bother? Well, perhaps because I feel that it isn't all "true".

      This:

      "Block's views are very close to early Rothbard"

      Thank you for presenting the whole problem in a nutshell.

      I don't mean to turn this into some exegetical contest, but here goes. See, I can handle the whole Rothbard, silly as it may sound (for a 6'5 feet Dutchie).
      I can see his scholarly development and the evolution of his thinking on the subject of Randianism, left-Libertarianism, "discrimination" and invented "rights", and last but most certainly not least, open borders, throughout the whole of his career.

      Now, someone like Walter Block simply and plainly can't handle the whole Rothbard.

      As I showed earlier in this thread, Block has to almost schizophrenically split Murray in two and deny/ignore or otherwise try to explain away the existence of Rothbard's final say on the matter.

      That final say had a little something to do with Murray supporting Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell founding the Mises Institute.

      All the best from Amsterdam,
      Richard

      BTW: I didn't say "exclude" nor suggest anything that might justify that term. I wondered why Block is still there. I have no rock solid idea, but he most certainly isn't still part of the LvM Institute to stand upon the shoulders of this great example of his re: open borders. More like treading on his feet ;)

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    5. There's a lot more to libertarianism than just the immigration question. It seems weird to say that Block should leave the Institute because he doesn't see eye to eye with others on the matter. And it's not like MI has a "party line" on immigration; they've always been a broad tent on this matter (much to the chagrin of those libertarians like Caplan who think that open borders ought to be the litmus test for "true" libertarianism).

      Delete
    6. Need to work on being brief, so here's the crux as I see it, in one sentence (okay, with a bit of context added):

      In the development of his scholarly thinking, Murray Rothbard matured. Block didn't.

      Don't know if that's proper English, but hey..

      Now about Block's claim to fame, his Defending the Undefendable two parter. The first came out in 1976, when Block was about 35 years old, and 35 years later (give or take a few) the second one came out. When it was reviewed at the LvM Institute in 2013, the title of the article read: "Walter Block Is Still Defending the Undefendable."

      This could be understood to mean that after all these years, Block is still doing what he always did best. That means, for initiates: to sharpen their minds in their understanding of libertarianism.

      (To that I might add:)

      For fence sitters or just the curious, it means: to scare many of them off with seemingly outrageous permissiveness, only to be wasting precious time on having to explain that libertarianism as a theory doesn't equal libertinism, nor that it constitutes a thinly veiled attack on bourgeois society and common sense under the guise of opposing aggression by the state.

      The article concludes: "Readers will develop a clearer understanding of libertarianism, as well as its limits."

      Cheers,
      Richard

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    7. jgress,

      "but supporting open borders is certainly consistent with what the great man had taught for most of his career."

      It's easy for a man holed up in a Manhattan apartment to say 'open borders' when the nearest border with Mexico is hundreds and hundreds of miles away. Much different for a Texas native to advocate that kind of nonsense. It is to Rothbard's credit as an honest intellectual that he changed his views on this.

      The border is a complex issue for the libertarian, but I believe it is a pragmatic issue much like voting. Either way you pick, you may end up with less liberty. It depends on the real circumstances on the ground.

      If someone could convince Walter that it is like voting, I think he could be convinced, because Walter is notorious for advocating voting even for mainstream candidates like Trump and Obama.

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  13. I agree with you, that any claim to property that has fallen into disuse over 2000 years would be unenforceable, but Block also gets his biblical history wrong. One of the groups the Israelites came across in the course of "homesteading" the region were the Philistines, who the Egyptians referred to as "Peleset". The Roman name Palestine comes from Philistia, the region of the Philistines.
    "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years." Judges 13:1

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  14. I've seen this coming. Right libertarianism is no more libertarianism, than left libertarianism. So now is a truly rothbardian like Block, because he "writes in the most left-libertarian tradition". I'm sad.

    Anonproof

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    1. Read the examination offered above regarding the evolution in Rothbard's thinking. Maybe it was senility with age or maybe it was wisdom with age? You decide. I know my view on this question.

      I have read enough early Rothbard to consider the view that the early Rothbard would pretty easily be identified as a left-libertarian today. No need to be "sad" about it: facts are facts from Nome to Rome.

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    2. "Senility with age?" Rothbard was a mere 70 when he died. It must have been wisdom with age.

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    3. A little bit of "Roll the Bones" lyrics from those Rock Virtuosos from Canuckville eh Bionic?

      Hey if women can change their minds and not be questioned then us men can fine tune our philosophies as we go. Lol!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous February 2, 2018 at 9:52 AM, you get the gold star...well, really the red one from 2112.

      Delete
  15. I find myself yearning for a positive libertarian example. I too, am in the doldrums.

    Is there anyone besides Hoppe, (not to disparage that, as I am a fan) that can be held up?

    I'm starting to "feel" ("feel" a word I don't use often) that libertarianism itself is being torn down. Is being denigrated.

    While the NAP may not be the end all-be all, are there any new/young/exceptional folks that are getting the story right?

    Man, I long for that story.

    I'm starved for that story.

    gpond

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    1. According to Rothbard's "Conceived in Liberty", the Quakers had a fairly libertarian society, until England arrived in force and put an end to it.

      Delete
    2. "While the NAP may not be the end all-be all, are there any new/young/exceptional folks that are getting the story right? "

      Not enough IMO my friend...not enough. Anecdotally the young people, who seem to be suffering the most financially right now, are running towards socialism as the answer despite history.

      There's been a mass of strategic errors that have driven them there from a libertarian perspective and I'm not sure what the best strategy is as far as trying to convince them otherwise.

      Ron Paul/Tom Woods have it right on focusing on the home school movement, but it's an incredibly small number of people with long time frame as far as influence goes.

      My best guess is that the young generation with the largest voting numbers force their socialist leanings on the rest of us over time and they get to "relearn" the failing of socialism again.

      I'm planning on the possibility of having to move out of the country down the road(15-20 years?) to escape the dynamics of is coming down the pike.

      That assumes I'll be able to find such an escape hatch.

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    3. I can't give you any positive stories, but perhaps positive stories can begin the libertarians stop advocating for policies that directly lead to less liberty.

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  16. Maybe pragmatism is needed after all. I'm thinking of Hoppe's praise for the feudal era and I honestly think it's a little silly. And if he's right that feudalism is more consistent with libertarian ethics than modern bourgeois capitalism, then maybe strict libertarianism is not what we want.

    The same goes for Block's open borders. If Block is right that only open borders is consistent with libertarian principles, then maybe we don't need libertarian principles. Maybe our theory should be "whatever makes us better off".

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    1. The law of the European Middle Ages was about as libertarian as I have found over any extended period.

      And feudalism gets a bad rap - compared to the burdens forced on us today in the supposedly free west, the serfs didn't have it so bad.

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    2. Hi BM,

      About the Middle Ages as the origin of "the West" and its culture of liberty, here's an especially worthwile lecture at the LvMI by none other than Ralph Raico (rip, good man). Here's the link to the most relevant part, starting around the 50 minute mark:

      Ralph Raico: https://youtu.be/pND9IZGFQlY?t=49m50s

      But for those who are in haste, here's the gist of what Raico is saying in a few quotes:

      Where did true or authentic liberalism (classical liberalism/libertarianism/propertyrightsism/naturallawism/freedomism/whatever) originate from?

      "Liberalism must be understood, I think.., as a political and social doctrine and a movement, grounded in the distinctive culture and traceable to specific historical conditions. That culture is the West."

      Nothing special thus far.
      And what exactly is the West? Raico continues:

      "The Europe that arose in communion with the Bishop of Rome."

      Let that sink in for a moment, my dear American friends (besides BM, who probably knew of this lecture): "in communion with the Bishop of Rome."

      "The historical conditions were those of the Middle Ages. The history of liberalism is rooted in what economic historians sometimes call: The European Miracle."

      Now guess what nation Raico then proceeds to talk about in glowing terms as the example for other European nations at the time?

      ;)

      Kind regs from Amsterdam,
      Richard

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  17. Lew Rockwell speaking about a libertarian reappraisal of "open borders."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5wZjdEl9F8

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  18. Rothbard was a man. Undoubtedly a genius but a man nonetheless - and men are fallible, changeable beings. If he started out as an open borders advocate and later realized his mistake, my respect for and admiration of the man is in no way diminished.

    I have not read enough Rothbard to know the evolution of his thought but I have read "Conceived in Liberty" and, after reading chapter after chapter on the genocide of the American Indian after they opened their borders to the Europeans (most of the problem was with immigrants from Germany and the UK), I'm not sure how anyone can support the idea of open borders. Individual land owners don't have open borders and neither should their designees, whether that be the state or some other construct. Open borders is a recipe for genocide.

    Although I feel that Libertarianism is the only just way to live in harmony with others, I also know that Libertarianism has failed everywhere it has been tried. It either collapses from within due to apathy, neglect and ignorance, or it is destroyed from without by totalitarian concentration of force.

    If we are to establish a lasting Libertarian society, I feel we must realize that [true] anarchy is a utopian ideal - and, like all such ideals, is unrealizable. Libertarians must come to grips with the idea that we must have leadership to survive. Such leadership must have the confidence and trust of the people as they will be the "watchmen on the wall" - they will warn against the inner decay of society and they must alert the society of exterior dangers.

    I envision a hierarchal leadership structure where a group of roughly 100 individuals (50 families) HIRE someone from the group to act as watchman. He / she would also arbitrate disputes and handle public infrastructure. This person would not have the power to tax but would use part of their salary to fund and manage infrastructure. Any funds not spent would be their compensation, so they would be doing a balancing act between two different self-interests - keeping their job and holding on to as much of their salary as possible. In this way, we bring proper market forces into the bureaucracy.

    A hundred first level watchmen would organize and hire from among them a second level watchmen whose responsiblity would be watching, arbitrating disputes and public infrastructure on this higher scale. By repeating this process, a hundred million people could be governed in 4 levels, 10 billion people in 5 levels.

    Is this a perfect idea? No, not at all - I don't believe that perfection is achievable in our current state of being. But it does give each individual a sense of control over their lives and over their leaders. It does inject market forces into government which, heretofore, has been the inverse of the market. And it does allow for a certain amount of isolation and evolution between groups.

    Anyway, my apologies for a very long and boring post. This is an idea I've been kicking around for some time and, since Bionic seemed a little down, I thought I'd put it out there as a sort of thought experiment.

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    1. "Although I feel that Libertarianism is the only just way to live in harmony with others, I also know that Libertarianism has failed everywhere it has been tried."

      I'm curious as to where libertarianism has been tried. Please advise .

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    2. A comment on The Doldrums
      My apologies. Since we libertarians cannot agree on exactly what libertarianism is, including NAP application, allow me to correct my statement. My idea of libertarianism is, basically, "Live and Let Live". Therefore, IMHO, a group that beholds itself to God, man or nobody is perfectly fine so long as that group meets 2 criteria:

      * Members may freely leave the group.
      * The group does not aggress against other groups.

      In "Conceived in Liberty", Rothbard speaks of several pre-revolution American groups who, to a greater or lesser degree, fit the two criteria above. As I have stated before in this thread, the early Quakers had, for some decades, a very libertarian society according to Rothbard. He also has good things to say about some of the American Indian tribes of the time. Both groups, of course, were eventually either massacred or forced to submit to more totalitarian authority.

      Current attempts at a libertarian society do not appear to be doing so well as, I believe, the state does its best to encourage submission to its authority. The founder of Liberland, for example, is in jail last time I checked. I have not heard of other more modern examples.

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  19. FYI

    Robert Wenzel February 2, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    "I advocate the immigration of undocumented, not voters."

    http://www.targetliberty.com/2018/02/the-republican-tax-bill-could-turn.html#comment-form


    Question. How he proposes to limit or prevent that jump!

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  20. I'm writing a comment that's getting too long. Oops.

    I've been having a hard time with Libertarianism for a little over a year now. Maybe two years.

    - The LP is what it is, I haven't come to expect much at least as long as I've been more than a layman's libertarian with big dreams. But their choices for 2016 wrote them off entirely. What's going on with the LNC and Ron Paul right now has made sure I won't even bother looking at the LP as a viable path to... well, anything.

    - Wenzel, Hornberger, so on. Contrast them with say, Lew Rockwell, BM, and Hoppe - all of them very solid in most libertarian stances, or at least one or two depending on which one we're talking about. How are all these named individuals able to call themselves libertarian, when they have enough views that contrast from one libertarian to the next?

    For years, when the public was polled on stances Libertarians hold, their stances were viewed in a positive light (or so I'm told, I can only take the findings at their word). "Why aren't we fifty points ahead?!"

    There's no common definition to what we describe.
    -"Aggression": For everyone agreeing with libertarianism, you'd think tax increases in local jurisdictions wouldn't be a norm, let alone the perpetual warfare state.

    -"Property": How do you define property in the modern west, when the general attitude has been that a majority vote decides what property is and who gets a say? Does anyone here own the fairway in front of their home, that they are responsible to maintain?

    Within the larger camp of Libertarianism alone, irrespective of public attitude, there's no common definition. One person's immigration stance is the counterpoint to the next person's stance on invasion. One man's punishment theory is the rest of us being appalled that murdering or molesting child thieves is nowhere on the scope of being justice but falls squarely into the zone of aggression that Statists here in our very real world wouldn't dare tread into. Not publicly and zealously, at least.

    All of these ideas come from Libertarians, or "Libertarians".

    It goes to say there are enough Libertarians I disagree with, so I'm hoping (and maybe should be pushing) for the various camps to secede, figuratively and literally, in different directions.

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  21. Lew Rockwell doesn't support "open borders."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5wZjdEl9F8

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  22. Hi BM,

    So back to Block; let's explore a bit more.

    "3) Finally…it is the intellectual child that does not consider the consequences of his actions. “Let’s invite communists in order to increase liberty.” Frankly, this is about the stupidest thing I have read from a mature libertarian on just about any political / social topic."

    Consider that statement by Block as one of a modern Gnostic who is only being very consistent, and read this, from Eric Voegelin:

    An example will best show the nature of the difficulty for the student. In classic and Christian ethics the first of the moral virtues is sophia or prudentia, because without adequate understanding of the structure of reality, including the conditio humana, moral action with rational co-ordination of means and ends is hardly possible. In the Gnostic dream world, on the other hand, nonrecognition of reality is the first principle. As a consequence, types of action which in the real world would be considered as morally insane because of the real effects which they have will be considered moral in the dream world because they intended an entirely different effect. The gap between intended and real effect will be imputed not to the Gnostic immorality of ignoring the structure of reality but to the immorality of some other person or society that does not behave as it should behave according to the dream conception of cause and effect.

    But here's the beauty of it, for immediately after this Voegelin continues:

    "The interpretation of moral insanity as morality, and of the virtues of sophia and prudentia as immorality, is a confusion difficult to unravel. And the task is not facilitated by the readiness of the dreamers to stigmatize the attempt at critical clarification as an immoral enterprise. As a matter of fact, practically every great political thinker who recognized the structure of reality, from Machiavelli to the present, has been branded as an immoralist by Gnostic intellectuals—to say nothing of the parlor game, so much beloved among liberals, of panning Plato and Aristotle as Fascists. The theoretical difficulty, therefore, is aggravated by personal problems."

    Well, I have no personal problems with the open borderites here, but if this isn't a wonderful coincidence that a 65-year old quote from this German political philosopher captures both the problem and typical opposition (of some open border dreamers) to analysing it.

    Quotes are from "Modernity without Restraint", pg 226.

    Kind regs from Amsterdam,
    Richard

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