Friday, July 10, 2020


A few items rattling their way through my brain.  Time to get rid of these.


We have seen statues come down, statues not only of slaveholders (which would require the removal of most statues around the world of anyone born before around 1830 and a few born since), but statues of those who worked to free slaves and those who were slaves.  The point isn’t slavery; the point is history. 

As many have noted, and I have recently written about, a nation without a story is not a nation.  This is the endgame of removing all statues – more accurately, removing the symbols that reflect the history of the nation.  Who does this benefit?  If we can judge by the people who are tearing down the statues, it doesn’t benefit what might be described as civil society.

I have done my own share of tearing down statues, so to speak.  Call it revisionist history.  My contribution is meager compared to many who have done the same.  I wonder: what is different about what I have done compared to what is done when statues are torn down? 

I guess I would say: my work was with the aim of exposing false narratives in our history, of giving some evidence in history that would alter the narrative.  It strikes me that such work can only help strengthen the nation by placing its history on firmer footing; it can strengthen the nation by properly reflecting on and recognizing its past sins. 

But is this just rationalization on my part?  Is this not what today’s (physical) revisionists would say?

This got me to thinking: a nation whose official historical narrative is compiled of many lies might inherently be headed down the road of its statues being torn down.  Building a narrative of lie upon lie merely opens the door for those who wish to question the foundation – and rightly so, it seems to me. 

We read in Proverbs 19: 5 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”  Perhaps tearing down statues is America’s comeuppance for building one false narrative on top of the other.

Anyway, returning to my question: what’s the difference of the work I have done vs. the tearing down of the statues today?  I guess I can say my work was in search of truth – open to someone revising what I described; the physical revisionists are only able to tear down, regardless of narrative: slaveowner, slave trader, abolitionist, or slave.  It is a task solely of destruction, with no attempt at leaving truth in its wake.

Such as these are not facing history honestly.  I guess, ultimately, this is the difference of my work and theirs.  Whether I am furthering truth or not is the task of the next revisionist to decide.  But approaching it honestly?  I believe so.


Why didn’t I cheer on CHAZ or CHOP or whatever name they wanted to use?  Three years or so ago, Catalunya was voting on secession.  I wrote then, and have written since: cheer on every opportunity for secession; if those in the seceding group do not wish to secede, then support their secession from this group.

So, why not cheer on CHAZ?  What’s different?  I guess I can answer it with a quote from Jeff Deist, writing at the time of the vote in Spain:

For libertarians, self-determination is the highest political end. In political terms, self-determination is liberty. In an ideal world, self-determination extends all the way to the individual, who enjoys complete political sovereignty over his or her life. The often misused term for this degree of complete self-determination is anarchy.

So, first there is the question of self-determination.

In an imperfect world, however, libertarians should support smaller and more decentralized governments as a pragmatic step toward greater liberty. Our goal should be to devolve political power whenever possible, making states less powerful and easier to avoid. Barcelona is less ominous than Madrid. The Legislature in a US state is less fearsome than Congress in Washington DC.

It seems correct to me – ever-smaller levels of government bring governmental leaders closer to the community, and give those in the community more opportunities to find a situation better suited to their preferences.  But this only works to advance liberty if the higher governmental institution does not continue usurping life and property from those who have now seceded.  So this is a second consideration.

But then we have this line:

Street gangs are bad, but they can be avoided in ways Uncle Sam cannot.

So, why did I not cheer on the street gang in Seattle as I did the secessionists in Catalunya?  I guess for a few reasons – and I suspect Deist would concur: first, it is not clear that there was any “self-determination” by those who lived and worked and owned businesses in the district on this matter; from what I can understand, it was kind of the opposite.  Maybe I am wrong one this.

Second, the higher levels of government didn’t leave those inside alone: still obligated for taxes, still obligated to the laws (well, not the armed thugs, but those whose homes and businesses were destroyed).  The only way that these people were left alone was in the only function the higher entity owed them: defense of life and property.

Which brings me to the third reason: until we come to a stateless society, should we not expect those in government and authority to do their jobs?  By “jobs,” I don’t mean spying and flying drones over wedding parties and the like.  I mean protect life and property – the only proper role of a government if there is to be a government.  This clearly didn’t happen in Seattle.  In fact, it was the opposite. 

Those looting and destroying were left free by the government that was supposed to protect from such thuggery.  Imagine what would happen if a private citizen-victim of these looters did the government’s job in the stead of those who had the obligation.  This defender of his property would have been the one sent to the gallows.

So, I guess my point is this: this event in Seattle was no secession.  It was a militarized invasion, with those responsible for defense abandoning their duty while leaving illegal the possibility of defense by those whose property and lives were jeopardized.  Which brings me to…

Pulling the Plug

Would libertarians be happy with pulling the plug on the existing state structures, confident that freedom would then ring – that eventually things would work out?  Working through this question in the past is one of the reasons I concluded that a proper cultural foundation is necessary before one can consider anything like liberty – or consider anything like pulling the plug.

If I was a resident in the CHAZ district of Seattle, I suspect I would feel even more confident of this view than I did before.

And, Finally…

In the absence of my free ability to properly defend my property (as all legal risk and all laws are against those who will do so), and in the absence of my ability to secure the services of a private and competing defense agency (which would be cost prohibitive for many reasons and would also open me up to the liabilities of a criminal), what are we to do with today’s police?  Defund them?  Spit on them?

I suggest we start by reducing the number of laws on the books – eliminate all laws against non-violent offenses.  Second, demilitarize; almost every department has SWAT teams and the like that are supplied like military invaders of Afghanistan.

After that, we can talk about defunding the police.


  1. When pulling the plug, surely a lot of horrible things would start happening immediately. But one wonderful thing would also happen immediately: there would no longer be State-sponsored persecution of those exercising their right to self-defense, which as you noted the State is not satisfied with charging us for and then failing to provide: they want to strip us of it altogether.

    This more than anything makes me long for a hard reset. I'm so sick and tired of mediocrities, everywhere, on every level, signaling their virtue and expecting the State to magically make it happen by fiat. Without the fiction of the State they would suddenly understand on a gut level what it takes to impose their will; the vast majority would be powerless to do so. It may not restore decency but it would almost certainly restore people's honesty, most crucially honesty with themselves, in dealing with the world - a prerequisite for decency.

    This, by the way, is why I don't agree with Barzun's implicitly critical stance on PRIMITIVISM. He calls it a sort of frustration with the complex mechanisms necessary for maintaining an advanced society. I call it the sense that a society has become so detached from reality that the only way to bring it back down to earth is through a radical tearing down of much of it.

    A common theme among libertarians on the conservative side is that a less-than-perfect order is better than a terrible order or no order whatsoever. This is applied to things like a corrupt Church hierarchy versus the chaos of the Reformation, or our administrative welfare states versus Communism. While I certainly appreciate the argument, I'm losing patience. It seems that each new outrage we accept meekly, for the sake of maintaining some peace and prosperity, wounds something far more fundamental and which cannot be kept suppressed indefinitely. And it's not as if our peace and prosperity have a very bright future anyway if we continue on the current path.

    1. I cannot really disagree with any of this. Then I think about my neighbors, knowing that few of them, if any, can be relied upon to stand tall in the face of the inevitable mobs.

      Of course, this is different in many places. Living in such places comes with its benefits, also its costs.

  2. "Imagine what would happen if a private citizen-victim of these looters did the government’s job in the stead of those who had the obligation. This defender of his property would have been the one sent to the gallows."

    While Mark and Patricia McCloskey won't be sent to the gallows, it should be anticipated that they will be put through the wringer for the "crime" of defending their home against a mob bent on mayhem.

    As I understand this, they lived in a mansion in a gated community (probably upper crust), which the mob broke into by tearing down the gate at the entrance. Certainly this "community" could have afforded an armed guard detail. Where were they? Also, was McCloskey the only family which made an attempt to defend itself? Did everyone else just cut and run?

    Taking the "history" of Wyatt Earp with a grain of salt, imagine what would have happened if he had been there with his shotgun. Eventually, as the system breaks down, there will be more and more instances of something like this occurring.

    Beneath that very thin veneer which we know as modern civilization, the wild, wild West still exists.

    1. Roger, see my reply to cosmic, above. How many neighbors are soft?

      As to the gallows, I meant it mostly figuratively ... maybe a bit literally. They will, at minimum, be put through the ringer by the legal system. In the larger public, their lives have been / will be crushed.

  3. "But is this just rationalization on my part? Is this not what today’s (physical) revisionists would say?"

    I've been thinking about this too. It's as if the left has gone so far in the wrong direction, that we, who've been for years pointing out the evils of past presidents who are generally praised, now have to defend them if only to preserve the conservative principle of honoring the past. It's sort of like how libertarians get stuck defending the Constitution. Though we see a lot wrong with it, and see how our present situation has predictably come about because of it, we still defend it against those who see it as some sort of impediment to their "progress" toward the falls.

    At root we're doing the same thing as them with our efforts at revisionist history, except we are not so obnoxious, we're not destroying taxpayer property, and we're doing it in the effort to bring about genuine freedom. We each have our standard that we measuring against historical figures: ours is the NAP, and theirs is racism. Their standard is being employed to build a more leftist and totalitarian society, and ours is being used to try and arrest and reverse this development and many that have come before it. We're using revisionist history to try and bring about a free society; they use it to bring about the opposite.

    And you know, I'm fine with exposing the faults of important figures in the past. But it is the totalitarian current running behind this thing that gets my hackles up. It's the idea of becoming a thought criminal for defending some "racist" from the past that worries me.

    Almost no one is standing up for the Southern monuments right now. Conservatives are more or less saying, "I can understand defacing and pulling those down, but Lincoln!? I'm mean, come on. Don't you know he fought a war to free the slaves!" Even Tucker Carlson is basically a Southern denigrating Lincoln lover.

    I'm not a big lover of statues, but it's the animus behind pulling them down that bothers me. It's that attitude that says screw everything you honor about your Southern heritage, or your American heritage for that matter. We're going to pull it all down into the dirt and piss on it, while we scream obnoxious and moronic things and blare air horns in honorable people's faces like jackals.

    And what would they replace it with? Is it possible for the modern Left to venerate anything more than a few months old? We see that they are already denouncing MLK's vision of a colorblind society, because that provides some dissonance with their new positively racist "Anti-Racism" ideology. Some cross breed totalitarian monster composed of the ideas of Gramsci, Bernays, Alinksy, Lenin, de Sade, Jacobin nationalism, and, of course, the satanic grandfather of all socialist ideologies, Marx, is what we have to look forward to from these folks. Maybe sprinkle in some bits of real Wakanda for good measure since our new leaders will be wearing Kente cloths, pandering to blacks, and otherwise be divorced from reality.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the war in America right now isn't over property rights, it's over the intangibles, our historical narrative, our culture. Our old American and Western Christian culture, or what remains of it, is under live fire attack right now, and the people with the most property to their names, the heads of the giant corporations, are fighting on the other side.

    This is why I'm voting for Trump instead of Jorgenson in November. Jorgenson proved to me, by supporting and promoting BLM and the absolutely absurd ideology of "Anti-Racism", that she also regards me as an enemy in the culture war or at least that she has no spine when it counts.

    At least Trump has a spine, and will stand up to the Left on the cultural front. I don't think Jorgenson can or will do that.

    1. "...the war in America right now isn't over property rights, it's over the intangibles, our historical narrative, our culture."

      If it isn't clear to libertarians by now - given what is visibly occurring - that a proper culture must come before property rights, nothing will make it clear to them.

      Preaching NAP to the mobs and to the corona-tyrants - sure, go try it.