Friday, June 7, 2019

Walter is So Very Wrong

This really has to stop.  Walter demonstrates once again that he cannot read or comprehend Hoppe, or he just doesn’t understand libertarianism.

The issue is well-known amongst libertarians – both friendly to (as Walter is) and opposed to (as many are) Hoppe’s position.  Everyone knows well – and many turn into a meme – Hoppe’s quote:

They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.

Walter includes this quote, within a longer paragraph that makes completely clear the context of Hoppe’s statement.  I reproduce the entire quote – as presented by Walter.  So you don’t miss the context, I have highlighted the key portions – hopefully you don’t miss these due to my subtlety:

“As soon as mature members of society habitually express acceptance or even advocate egalitarian sentiments, whether in the form of democracy (majority rule) or of communism, it becomes essential that other members, and in particular the natural social elites, be prepared to act decisively and, in the case of continued nonconformity, exclude and ultimately expel these members from society. In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They—the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism—will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.”

Walter’s blog post is entitled: “Homosexuality and Libertarianism Are Indeed Compatible, Contrary to Hans Hoppe.”

Libertarianism rests on private property; property owners are free to regulate their property in any manner they see fit – else what is the point of either property or libertarianism.

I have said it many times before: libertarian communities will not look libertarian to many on the outside.  The property owners will establish rules designed to maintain much more than “don’t hit first; don’t take my stuff.”  It is a juvenile understanding of libertarianism.  Property owners will come together and will design rules intended to protect liberty as they want to live it. 

Walter seems to understand this point, when he writes:

If Hans had said these folks, democrats, commies, gays, hedonists, etc., should physically be removed from condominiums which are dedicated to a different life-style, that would be fine and good. After all, free association is one of the very bed-rocks of a civilized (e.g., libertarian) order.

Walter, read the sections that I have highlighted.  This is exactly the context that Hoppe offers.  Such a covenant does not have to be limited to a “condominium.”  It is perfectly applicable to a homeowners’ association, amusement park, hotel, larger community, etc. 

A word like “society” requires definition and context.  Hoppe has offered it directly in the quoted passage.  Walter is hung up on the word “society,” because he has in mind what this means – anything other than a condominium.  Yet Hoppe gives the precise context in which he is using the term.  Walter chooses to ignore this.

Enough is enough.

There is much more I can write about this blog post, including the original letter written to Walter, where the gay son understands better the shortcomings of the NAP than does the libertarian father, who offers to his son his vision of a future, libertarian world:

“I imagine a Black Nationalist living on my right, a Born Again behind me, a Bleeding Liberal on the other side, and a couple of lesbians across the street.  We’d wave to each other, help shovel out each other’s driveways after a bad storm, and maybe even have civil conversations about our different opinions, but otherwise we’d just leave each other alone.” 

My son didn’t think such a thing was possible, believing as he does that NAP is not enough of a glue for society.

Libertarianism is not sufficient for liberty.  Hoppe understands this, the son understands this.  Walter and the father do not.

NB: please don't turn the comments into personal attacks of Walter; I consider him a friend, else I wouldn't waste my time writing this post.  So Just stick to the issues.


  1. I read Walter Block's response over at LRC just a few minutes ago.

    You are now a thick Libertarian, Jonathan, according to Dr. Block. I always thought that thick Libertarianism had to do with adding 'social justice'-type things to Libertarianism. Now, one can be thick if you simply acknowledge that Libertarianism does not exist in a vacuum, that you need some sort of fertile culture to support the idea. It's as if the notion that Libertarianism would stand a better chance in the West than in Africa is, somehow, a controversial proposition.

    If you are now thick, then the distinction between thick and thin Libertarianism has lost any meaning. This is probably how good ideas get destroyed - you stretch definitions so far as to render the whole subject moot.

    1. Turning libertarianism into a caricature is a sure way to destroy it.

      I respect the NAP too much to expect more from it than it is designed to deliver. Walter, by insisting as he does, places such a heavy load on the NAP that he is crushing it.

    2. Thick libertarianism is not just "adding social justice type things to Libertarianism." That's a misunderstanding of the thin vs thick argument. You can be thick on the right or thick on the left.

      My understanding of thick libertarianism is that it can be boiled down to exactly what Bionic wrote above: "Libertarianism is not sufficient for liberty." i.e., achieving a libertarian social order requires more than the non-aggression principle, private property rights and self-ownership.

      Thickism is most often associated with those who argue that advocates of liberty should also advocate for tolerance and against bigotry, etc. But the label equally applies to those who argue that advocates of liberty should also advocate for family values and against homosexuality/hedonism, etc.

    3. My point, whether I am wrong about social justice-type things, or not, is that BM's view is not 'thick'. The realization that culture has a big impact on the chances for success of Libertariansism is not adding something to it in the same way the Left-Libertarians do.

      My impression was that thick-ism was almost exclusively on the Left. Perhaps not. I'll have to revisit the prior debate again.

    4. Harry, I will slightly modify your comment - at least at is relates to my view.

      When I think of thick libertarians, I think of those who say more must be added to libertarianism - the non-aggression principle. I am not one of these.

      I suggest that libertarianism - the non-aggression principle - is not sufficient to achieve and maintain liberty.

      Now, if that makes me thick in a more appropriate definition of the term, so be it. But I want to make clear my view. To repeat: I do not muddy up the NAP with baggage the way many do; I merely suggest that the NAP is not sufficient to achieve liberty.

  2. I likewise just read Block's response. Does Block read BM on a regular basis or only when BM addresses Block?

    Lets see, NAP requires that:
    1) People respects other's private property.
    2) When transacting with others, that there is no fraud.
    3) That a contract's provisions be enforced.

    I call that positive duties.

    1. It seems your definition of "positive" is different from Walter's or Rothbard's. Perhaps you can more clearly define it. Would you call it a positive duty to not murder others? If so, then that's fine, so long as you define positive to include meaning NOT doing something aggressive.

      However, I would think that Walter's meaning (and likely he got that from Rothbard) of positive would be such duties to mow your neighbor's lawn, or rescue him if his house was on fire. Positive in this sense means you have to DO something, not refrain from doing something.

      Of course, you can define words anyway you wish, but if your definitions aren't accepted by others, then you will not be communicating very well with those others.

    2. No, not murdering is not a positive duty.

      To exist is to interact with others. We all experience life by reacting to stimuli. When transacting uncoerced with another human being, are you required to be truthful and honest, to respond in a courteous and commonly accepted norm of behavior?

  3. Mr. M.,

    I just read his response to this. Apparently, he truly believes:

    1. That everyone in the world (of actual real human people) is capable of coming to understand the NAP...or at least most of them.

    2. That all cultures (valued by actual real human people) will be fully suppressible (by the actual real humans that practice them) once they come accept the NAP.

    Ron Colson

    1. Ron

      Walter supports letting one million commies into his neighborhood, as long as they come onto private property or property previously not homesteaded.

      I need not expand further, I believe.

    2. How can these one million communists at the same time purport to want the property they enter be privately owned, or made their own property via homesteading? Just wondering. Peg

    3. Peg, who knows what they will turn it into once they get settled. But I will guess they will thereafter outvote Walter.

  4. As noted, Walter has replied. I offer just a couple of points, not worth another blog post.

    Walter writes: “[Hoppe] never should have said these non-conservative lifestyle people should be removed, excluded, from “society.” He should have explicitly said they should be removed, excluded, only from the private property of people who wish to separate themselves from those pursuing alternative lifestyles.”

    Of course, according to the dictionary definition of society and the context of his statement, this is what Hoppe said. One of the last people who requires someone to speak for him is Hoppe, so if I am out of turn, I apologize.

    Let’s look up the definition of “society”:

    1) an organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.

    2) a body of individuals living as members of a community; community.

    3) the body of human beings generally, associated or viewed as members of a community: the evolution of human society.

    4) a highly structured system of human organization for large-scale community living that normally furnishes protection, continuity, security, and a national identity for its members: American society.

    5) such a system characterized by its dominant economic class or form: middle-class society; industrial society.

    So, it seems to me, that as long as any of these groupings in the definition are privately organized – as Hoppe has written – then each of these has the right to remove violators from “society.” In other words, I find most of these definitions consistent with my earlier point – Walter is ignoring context…and using his own definitions:

    “Your main criticism, your only criticism as far as I can see, apart from the context issue, is that I should have included, in addition to condo associations, the following: “homeowners’ association, amusement park, hotel, larger community…” I would add, sports arena, football stadium, streets, or any other privately-owned area where people gather.”

    As Hoppe is writing of a privately formed community, and given the definition of the word “society,” it seems to me that Walter is arguing against his own faulty definition of the word. He is not arguing using the dictionary definition of society.

    To my second point, Walter writes:

    “You and Hans are thick libertarians. You both believe there is something more that is necessary for freedom, prosperity, happiness, indeed, for liberty, than, merely, the non-aggression principle and private property rights based on homesteading. I take the position that these two foundations of libertarianism are fully sufficient for the good society. Nothing more is needed.”

    I think this is naïve – even dangerously naïve. I have written too much about why to dive into it again. I will only offer the following:

    I have probably written a half-million words on why. I have traced the history. I have identified in history where I have found meaningful examples. Walter is giving me a statement of faith in response.

    It is not sufficient, Walter. To believe culture and tradition don’t matter as necessary in keeping a society free is a road Gramsci will gladly travel with you. I know which of the two of you will find victory at the end of that road. This is where Walter’s faith will lead. Nowhere else.

  5. "I have said it many times before: libertarian communities will not look libertarian to many on the outside."

    Heck, it won't even look libertarian to a lot of libertarians.

  6. “They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.” Having read that quote from Hoppe some years ago, I was taken aback. But then it occurred to me that those unacceptable people wouldn’t have made it into his restrictive society in the first place, thereby obviating having to expel them, which is perfectly permissible in a private group where the owner sets the terms of admission and behavior. Peg

    1. Peg, the children who inherit the property might not be so inclined. Without making it too complex at the moment (e.g. one can envision some form of CC&Rs that are permanent regarding the property), they will have to be physically separated from society.

    2. You’re correct Bionic, I should have mentioned that over time new owners might and likely will have different requirements for admission and behavior. If Hoppe is fortunate, his society will remain intact for his own and his loved ones’ lifetimes. I’ve always liked this quote, “Things change, things stay the same.” I don’t know from where it comes. Peg

    3. Comes from here:


    4. Neal Stephenson wrote a novel around such ideas in Diamond Age. Not sure his viewpoint, but I think the truth comes through. Culture is held tight and people move in and out based on their own proclivities. That means if you don't agree with the culture, you move out.

    5. Peg, because preference of male-female pairing, required to create a baby, as a means to build a family and society is so destructive. You should find evidence in history that homosexuality is nit dis-civilizational.
      Heterosexuality reproduces ... you know, breeders.

  7. Libertarianism can't be imposed. The population must be of a like mind or else it will never be more than Libertarainism-in-name-only, or, in other words some form of Minarchism. (Most likely much more intrusive and controlling)
    Thick and thin Libertarianism must really be Minarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism respectively.

    I get the impression that most Libertarians are minarchists who are essentially arguing that the only problem is that the wrong people are the coercers.

    If a disruptive person is discerned in a neighborhood, what is wrong with complaining and explaining to him/her, at about the time of his/her transgressions? Possibly as an over heard conversation between two allies. The transgressor will eventually change or tire and leave to a more congenial neighborhood.

    There is no need to legislate about it or specify the transgressions.

    Libertarism can't happen before its population chooses it. The NAP and private property are landmarks to show the direction. Each geographical zone will have to delineate its own interpretation while keeping economic contact with a sufficient collection of other zones. Hopefully all other zones.

    Hoppe's zone might be superior in every way or it might become hidebound group-thinkers. Innovation and adaptation, even invention, can be considered perversion and immorality depending on the subject. Certainly there will be a gray area that will be ripe for abuse.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I prefer the term reactionary to thick when describing our libertarian views.

    Who's going to be floored by the vision of the black nationalist and a couple of lesbians living in the same neighborhood? How is a black nationalist even living in there and not in his black nation?

    The positive marketing aspect of the libertarian order is that you are more likely to live in a community much more attune to you own preferences. It's a peaceful separation through discrimination.
    If diversity were such a great steppingstone for liberty, than Hoppe is right and all the politicians supporting mass migration today are libertarians. Fabulously slim ones I guess.

    I guess we are about to change the punch line from "At least I still have the constitution" to "At least I still have the NAP".

    1. I often find myself agreeing with reactionaries, and perhaps the proper course at this moment in time can be properly seen as reactionary, but I don't like the term and there are other significant problems with this philosophy.

      The term makes it seem as though the just opposition to the modern status quo is anti-intellectual, without initiative, and rudderless - defined only by that which it opposes. It makes it seem as though we don't have a plan. And in reality I believe this is true for many who call themselves reactionary.

      The real problem with reactionaries is that without a systemic worldview of their own to replace the one they oppose, they are much more likely to unwittingly reinstall the same poisons that got us in this mess in the first place.

      Case in point: Richard Spencer. His solution to the status quo is national socialism. He thinks a mode of political organization grandfathered by the French Revolution is going to rescue us from our current malady of leftism. Brilliant...

      Still, what do we call ourselves who want to conserve or resurrect the most valuable traditions of Western civilization from the past? Can a conservative call himself a conservative if he believes that most of the current political order presuming to govern him needs to be chucked into the trash heap? Reactionary seems appropriate (and defensible from a libertarian stand point) when we would discard (much, much) more than we'd conserve of today's political machine.

      I still, however, prefer the term conservative. We are those who wish to conserve that which is true and good (though it cannot be totally destroyed) in the history of the West (God, family, property, country, freedom, etc.) regardless of the social and political noise of the present.

      In terms of strategy, 'reaction' seems predictable, like billiard balls struck by the cue. If we're only reacting to the advances of the left, then our chances don't look too good.

    2. “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

      ― G.K. Chesterton

    3. This is touching on the deeper problem of the right, which only seems to come into existence when there is a left. The left has ideologies and revolutions and the right is always caught up in rearguard battles.

      I'm not big on coming up with names or descriptions and I'm always happy for better suggestions. We're all dissidents somehow and I thought the term reactionary might be something that would be a better signal to others in these cloudy times.

      Reaction is not enough anymore. What libertarianism needs is a vision. You can't beat something with nothing as Jeff Deist reminds us.
      That's where the father fails: The neighborhood he describes sounds like a fairy tale!

      Only God knows how often the readers of this blog have been ridiculed for endorsing a libertarian order. So you know what it means when we find this liberalala neighborhood laughable.

    4. Jaime,

      I love that Chesterton quote; it's one of my favorites. I would say it's timeless, but I'm hoping, for our sake, that isn't true.

    5. Anonymous,

      I can't find anything to disagree with.

      Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn has a lot to say about right vs left, their definitions (which I believe are the most correct of anyone I've read, since he is able to synthesize both the European right and the American right, and place Hitler squarely in the camp of the left). If you haven't already I'd recommend both his "Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse" and "Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Times". Both are astoundingly loaded with insight and historical perspective from a Catholic monarchist point of view.

      I don't think he's correct about everything, but his insights are a grave warning to those on the right who are becoming more and more taken by indentitarian (white) nationalism. Hint: white nationalism is leftist on both counts according to EvKL.

  10. Hoppe excludes from his hypothetical society these: “Advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism.”

    Referencing only homosexuality, it’s my experience across decades of friendship with homosexual men, they run the gamut of political opinion, just as non-homosexual people do. I personally know homosexuals who are as family-oriented as any other people, and also have maintained long-term 30- and 40- year plus relationships with their one partner.

    Hoppe, in my opinion, is mistaken to universally exclude this group from his hypothetical society along with people who promote hedonism, parasitism, democracy, communism, etc. It is an injustice.

    It appears Hoppe has merely expressed his personal animosity toward the idea of homosexuality, which seems to be based in ignorance, an animosity widely shared by many heterosexual men, but surprising for Dr. Hoppe. Peg

    1. I don't have a big problem with the homos so long as they're otherwise decent folk and they're not trying to advertise their lifestyle to kids. I do have a very big problem with the modern gay agenda as expressed through politics and entertainment though.

      I have a strong suspicion that most of these people have been abused, sexually or otherwise, and that this is the reason they have veered off from a traditional relationship with a member of the opposite sex. I have no data to back this up, and I wouldn't trust any data on this produced by sociologists these days. It's just my gut instinct that has been anecdotally confirmed more than a few times in my experience.

      If this is the case with most, and their gayness is their psychological remedy for a past traumatic event, I can certainly empathize with them. My heart goes out to them even.

      If, on the other hand, they choose to bang other dudes because they're simply unrepentant hedonists who crave the provocative irresponsible lifestyle because they hate all that which I love (God, family, tradition), then it'd be hard to find any empathy for them.

      Still, even with the latter sort, I'd follow Jesus' dictum that "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone". I'm not so arrogant as to believe I've never sinned, so my 'stone' will be reserved for more deserving targets - targets I'd be willing to risk hell over (like those who threaten my family with imminent violence).

      This doesn't mean I have to buy their horrible fashion advise or bake them a wedding cake with two brides on it, or accept them as my child's teacher or athletic coach.

      If we go back to Hoppe, we might ask if the gay lifestyle is realizable as a universal ethic? Not if you're against the end of the human race.

    2. Peg, you must read Hoppe more carefully. I will again reproduce here a subset of what I reproduced above:

      "Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal."

      The word that is relevant here is "promoting."

      You even include the word "advocates" in the section you quote; another key word in his statement.

      Now I suspect you can imagine the difference of quietly living a lifestyle vs petitioning the HOA for "Sodomy Saturday Night" at the clubhouse and community pool - certainly given that the residents agreed to such conditions before they moved into the society.

      I suspect Hoppe puts a lot of time into what he says and writes - the last thing he strikes me as is frivolous. He must get very frustrated that people don't read his words.

    3. I concede I may have been reading into Hoppe's words a meaning he didn't intend. Mea culpa. I also concede it isn’t relevant what I think about his choices; he is within his rights to choose whomever he likes to join his private society. Peg

    4. If someone is advocating democracy, fascism or communism (or even monarchism) in a libertarian community, this, to me, is a credible threat of physical violence, or aggression.

      It is one thing to speak about the idea of democracy, it's history, and the real world consequences of it, but to promote democracy in a free society is to threaten the widespread commission of aggression and the end of the way of life of freedom. Such advocacy I believe is justifiably suppressed with force. I would say forceful expulsion and excommunication from all property governed by such a society would be sufficient. No need for leftist instruments such as the gulag or the guillotine. A stern and prompt escort out of the community is a enough.

      To promote homosexuality is different. Here social punishment (excommunication) if anything would have to be the limit, since no aggression is threatened in the act. Unless of course a man is promoting 'sex' with underage boys.

      I believe Hans made it clear in an interview with Michael Malice last year at PFS that when he stated physical removal (even of communists!) he meant they should be 'forced' to leave via social pressure, i.e. their presence in the community should not be socially tolerated. They should be shunned and ridiculed. He wasn't saying that you should physically round them up and march them out into the desert (that's leftist think!).

      It just goes to show you how important that precision in language is. Even Hans Hoppe, exemplar par excellence of linguistic accuracy, can slip up with some ambiguity from time to time. Of course, he could have done it on purpose to watch the lefties (and 'thinsters') lose their minds.

    5. ATL,

      I would like to tease this out a bit.

      “If someone is advocating democracy, fascism or communism (or even monarchism) …” “…from all property governed by such a society…”

      I believe even the most libertarian society – by this, I mean a society that was formed in a voluntary (or reasonably voluntary) method – must find some method by which to govern and also to adjudicate disputes. Not every contingency can be contemplated in an originating document or contract.

      Some disputes could be governed by vote – call it democracy, albeit who gets to vote may be based on some manner other than one person, one vote. Some might be governed by a tribunal – elders, perhaps. I suspect even how every dispute might be governed could not be anticipated in a founding document.


      “Unless of course a man is promoting 'sex' with underage boys.”

      Why? What makes young boys deserving of special consideration? Who will determine at what age one is “underage”? Would it be decided by democratic vote, a tyrant, or a king?


      “He wasn't saying that you should physically round them up and march them out into the desert (that's leftist think!).”

      I won’t (and never would) speak for Hoppe. I speak for me: if a community was established on “55 and older, no children,” and a 45-year-old heir to the recently deceased Gladys showed up with five kids in tow, I would have no problem physically kicking them out. Would you?

      So why not the same for someone who would “promote homosexuality” in a community designed (and agreed by covenant) for traditional families – you know, husband, wife, 2.6 children, and a dog? After all, if he gets enough of his friends to move in to the community, they might be the ones adjudicating disputes (see my first item, above).

      I can think of the many issues these points raise. But here they sit.

    6. "Not every contingency can be contemplated in an originating document or contract."

      No but this undeniable fact can be, and so the proposed means of solving disputes of this nature can be agreed upon in the originating document. To restate, in the event that the solution to an unforeseen dispute is not specified in a contract, the means of resolving such a dispute could easily have been specified to cover all such scenarios.

      The solution could have democratic elements: a council of elders, a board member vote, etc, perhaps even a popular referendum. The difference between these actions and a democracy is that in the latter all laws in society are up for the vote, whereas in the former only those situations which fall through the cracks of the founding document are or could be.

      I see the most successful and adaptive system in this regard is the private governance provider model. These decisions regarding unspecified conflicts would be addressed in an entrepreneurial way. The business owner decides on how to resolve these issues knowing that if the judgments are not well received by the community he serves, he may decide himself out of a job, since his customers may choose another provider who decides these issues in a more acceptable way.

      The monopoly of authority is the problem; a competitive market in authority is the solution (federalism = good; polycentrism = better; anarcho-capitalism = best). Of course, like we've discussed, we'll never get to (any of) the latter without a genuine and widespread restoration of personal virtue and faith in Christ.

      The above goes for the specified age regarding the transition to adulthood as well. This is a very tricky issue for libertarians who discount the importance of Hoppe's work regarding culture, covenant communities, and private law societies (i.e. liberty which may not look like it from the outside). There is no objective solution here, only a solution agreed upon by a particular community, culture, or law provider.

    7. "I would have no problem physically kicking them out. Would you?" - BM

      In such a case, residents (or the founder) would likely own or initially own all the property to be governed under the community standards. If this were so, the incoming offender would not be able to purchase or rent in the first place; he'd be screened for being too young and possessing kids. But in the event an offender arrived (say it was a tenant's relative and his kids), yes I believe force would be justified, but only after it was demonstrated that this person would not leave voluntarily.

      Whether violence is justified or not depends on property rights, who owns 'em, and who violated who's first.

      But, let's imagine a particularly 'loud and proud' gay man owns a house a few miles outside a religious covenant community. This guy doesn't have any neighbors so he and his 'buddies' engage in indecent acts in full view of anyone who might be just outside his property. Let's then say that the religious community is expanding rapidly as new tenants homestead unowned land around its perimeter. It eventually envelops the gay man's property, so that it appears that a gay man is now violating the prohibitions of the community. He, in defiance of his new chaste neighbors, continues his lawn exhibitions with his lovers in broad daylight.

      Now, in this case, would the religious neighbors have the right to physically invade his property and throw the gay man out? Or would the better solution be to get a few neighbors to pool resources and buy him out? If he doesn't sell, oh well, I guess they'll have to try other non-violent means of ridding themselves of the nuisance. Maybe they can just erect walls around his property? I can't say I have much sympathy for the religious folks in this case, because the gay man was there first. They effectively moved to the nuisance, and therefore cannot complain about it. The gay man's property is an enclave surrounded by the religious community but governed by a different law provider.

      I feel like a whole book could be dedicated to these types of issues in a free society. Maybe there's one out there already?

    8. "Maybe they can just erect walls around his property? I can't say I have much sympathy for the religious folks in this case, because the gay man was there first. They effectively moved to the nuisance, and therefore cannot complain about it. The gay man's property is an enclave surrounded by the religious community but governed by a different law provider."

      And with this statement, you've isolated the heart of the problem.(think San Francisco) The issue of community standards usually defaults to some type of "democracy" in modern times, though in the past might have been up to a King or aristocracy with dramatic influence from the Church. (and it obviously hasn't always been Catholic, see Henry VIII/Anglicanism, which was in essence a move to mitigate the Catholic church in setting moral standards).

      Anyway, I had a interesting discussion last year with a professor from Columbia International University, whose background was teaching language studies(Aramaic) and translation, obviously focused Biblically. He had dual citizenship, born in the US- but Swiss citizenship as well through his parents and in our discussions he noted that his citizenship was tied to the Catholic church and Canton, which I never knew before. (we were discussing some pressure he was getting from his family to get his kids Swiss citizenship)

      In an interesting turn of discussion, he touched on another historical matter that I was not aware of in that he said the Swiss booted out the Jesuits....for in essence if I understand properly, holding communist viewpoints.

      Fascinating! It further highlights the challenges in trying to navigate peaceful/cohesive society(s) in accordance with the NAP and some set of "reasonable" moral/ethical standards. We might feel strongly that a "lasting" society based on liberal society morally speaking won't last(and I'm in that camp), but the question of how to handle the "San Franciso"'s of the world remains.

      It's an age old issue/question....

    9. ATL, thank you for the extensive replies. Yes, we need a book on "Defending the Defendable." I do not know of one!

    10. Nick, I think the Jesuits were getting booted from many countries in the latter half of the eighteenth century - even the Pope cut them loose.

      It happened about 80 years later in Switzerland, apparently.

    11. Nick,

      I don't know much of anything about the Jesuits, other than I thought they were basically Catholic evangelists. I think at one point they were excommunicated from the Church and then brought back into the fold. It's a part of history that I have on my list to learn about but have not got there quite yet. That would be odd if they really did hold communist views, since communism is opposed in almost every way to Catholicism.

      "he said the Swiss booted out the Jesuits....for in essence if I understand properly, holding communist viewpoints.... but the question of how to handle the "San Franciso"'s of the world remains. " - Nick

      Would it be a violation of the NAP to physically toss out communists? Hoppe holds that these sorts of people need to be socially ostracized to the point that they are 'forced' to leave the community. But is it necessary to be this generous with people who advocate one of the most aggressive ways of life imaginable?

      I would say that those who advocate for communism (or any form of statism) are credibly threatening large scale aggression, and physical violence or the threat thereof is justifiable in expelling them from the free society.

      As far as the problem of dealing with unfree (and immoral) societies in neighboring lands goes, I think a foreign policy of self-determination is best. Let them be so long as they are not infringing upon your freedom.

      And any nonaggressive 'attacks' on your culture from these neighboring lands, must be dealt with socially (ostracism, boycott, excommunication, etc.) rather than politically.

      It's okay to think of intangibles like culture as property (for all you 'propertarians' out there), so long as the enforcement of such property utilizes only intangible weapons (again, ostracism, boycott, excommunication, etc.). The retaliation for the infringement of property should be proportional. I regard proportionality (in enforcement, defense, and restitution) as intrinsic to the libertarian theory (I take this position from Rothbard), but I understand that some may disagree with me on this. As Bionic has shown (in colorful detail...), however, proportionality cannot be objectively ascertained in most situations. Therefore the principle of proportionality must be interpreted and defined by a given culture and custom.

      I'm not denying that the 'San Fransciscos' of the world will be a problem, and I don't think there is a solution for them. But I think there is a morally correct way of addressing the issue, even if it can never be solved.

    12. With all the talk about shunning, social ostracism, and 'removing' non-conformists from society, it reminds me of one of the oldest cultures in America which has perfected that--the Amish.

      They are very close-knit, raise their children up in the tradition, and rarely accept new members from outside (the English, as they're called). As far as I know, they do not have any formal or written covenant which everyone agrees to, but they do have an impressive record of keeping their members in line with the protocol. Rarely does anyone break out, but when he does, the full weight of social disapproval and repudiation is unleashed on him. Most of the 'malefactors' cannot handle this and quickly return to the fold.

    13. ATL, Nick Badalamenti,

      Your hypothetical situation involving the gay man/religious neighbors is similar in many ways to another issue which has been sorted out in court many times over the years: Can a hog farmer be put out of business by someone who moved in downwind of his operation because they didn't like the smell.
      The answer which the courts have consistently given is that the farmer, who was there first, is protected from lawsuits by those who arrived later.

      Now, a solid wall may protect the religious parties from the sight of their neighbor's 'festivities', but I can tell you from experience that there is no wall high enough or strong enough to protect you from the stench of a hog farm when the wind is blowing in your direction.

      Better to inspect the 'community covenant' before you buy in.

    14. Roger,

      Great point about the hog farm. Dog food plants are also terribly nasty to live downwind of. There was one along a stretch of road when I was a kid, and I remember practicing holding my breathe for as long as I could as we drove past it. There were a few run down houses living nearby too. I remember thinking, even back then before I knew anything about libertarianism, "I wonder who came first. The houses? Or the plant?"

    15. Gents,

      Ever passed a paper mill?! Hoo boy!

    16. Driving through the Swiss countryside some years ago, our friend and driver referred to the "cow odor" as "Swiss perfume!" It's ever so much a nicer smell than a paper mill, which I promise will gag you. Peg in Oregon (married to a Swiss)

    17. Well, yes, and innumerable other odious smells, sights, and sounds. All of us could think of one, but the point to keep in mind is common to all of them and applies to covenantal communities (and their deviant neighbors) as well: Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware!

      Each one of these instances could be seen (probably has been) by someone as an ‘aggression’ which needed protective action and positive change, but local tradition, community standards, and property ownership carry a great deal of weight in deciding what is right and who has to bend in order to fit in and get along.

      Bringing the State in to ‘correct’ the perceived wrongs is useless. To paraphrase a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln,

      “You can protect all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot protect all the people all the time.”

      We cannot count on the State to protect us from any or every conceivable hazard. That only makes things worse and eventually becomes the hazard. Instead, protection of ourselves and our own must begin at the personal and local levels. I submit that it can’t diverge or advance much beyond that before it begins to “smell” like statist intervention.

      To Peg in Oregon, when I was growing up on the farm, we had a name for cow manure—sunshine, because it made the grass grow.

    18. I have written a thought experiment on this topic; boy, did it bring hell upon me! A public stoning was recommended, but fortunately I am saved by Grace.


  11. "No but this undeniable fact can be, and so the proposed means of solving disputes of this nature can be agreed upon in the originating document."

    Ah, yes, implied powers? Mystical bonds, preexisting unions ...

    So, the nature of solving unaddressed problems within these uSA's Constitutional has worked towards more liberty or freedom? Or has it worked towards one branch of the government deciding what are the limits of other branch of government?

    Thomas Hobbes describes what happens when the agent becomes the what are the limits of the agency.

    1. There will always be those who govern and those who are governed, and among the former, there will always be a tendency towards corruption. In these 'in between the lines' scenarios, no, it is not good to allow a monopoly provider to make these decisions. Like the US government, it will decide these cases in its own favor the vast majority of the time.

      The scenario I was detailing was in regards to not a monopoly provider but a competitive one existing in an open market for the provision of law. In such a case, if one of the governed does not like the way the gray areas of the law are being decided by his particular governor, he can renounce his contract (at the end of a term or at once with a penalty) and choose another.

  12. "So you don’t miss the context, I have highlighted the key portions – hopefully you don’t miss these due to my subtlety:"

    I've read that sentence several times and each time it makes me laugh. Thank you Bionic, for having a good sense of humor. Peg