Finally, after almost four months of genocidal behavior by the state of Israel and genocidal cheerleading by Walter Block, there is a response from someone meaningful in Block’s intellectual orbit and not just from a random libertarian affiliate of Block’s or a random bug like me:
An Open Letter to Walter E. Block, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Block, to his credit, has published countless articles that pass muster by libertarian standards and there are likely many more to come…
Block has done this, no doubt. He will remind anyone who will listen about how much he has published. He will often write of someone with whom he has a disagreement, “we agree on perhaps 95% of all topics,” when writing of economics or the application of the non-aggression principle.
This is true for me as well: I agree with Block on all of the simple things: minimum wage, rent control, etc. It is the important things – those things that contribute to a peaceful life that approaches and maintains liberty – where I find him an enemy of humanity and peace. And his call for genocide is certainly one of these things.
Hoppe makes a rational, point-by-point, critique of Block’s claim that the Jews – as a group – had the right consistent with the non-aggression principle and Lockean property notions to displace Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. It is a topic that I covered six years ago, here.
Block’s argument hinges on, among other things, DNA and cultural continuity – neither passing muster from a libertarian viewpoint, and either opening the door for a war all against all – as we all have DNA and cultural characteristics from both past victims and past perpetrators.
On the DNA point, Hoppe makes an interesting comment:
(Interestingly, it appears that the closest genetic similarity to ancient Jews could be found among indigenous Christian Palestinians.)
Coincidentally, just a few days ago, Ron Unz wrote on exactly this point, within an article that covers extensively the DNA story of those who today are identified as Jews:
The tremendous historical irony that the current Palestinians—now suffering horrifying massacres in Gaza—are almost certainly the closest lineal descendants of the Biblical Israelites was highlighted by Sand and had been similarly emphasized by Beaty in his 1951 book.
As to the cultural continuity, I won’t – nor am I qualified to – go into much detail about the various meaningful changes in Hebrew / Jewish cultural practices through history. It is clear that the Hebrew religious traditions at the time of Moses and Joshua and David were quite different than the traditions of Second Temple Judaism which are also quite different than the traditions that developed in the centuries after Christ. (I touch on this second change here.)
Returning to Hoppe, he then moves on to the editorial co-written by Block about four months ago, which I had written on when I became aware of it.
…it is this screed of his, then, that reveals Block as an unhinged, bloodthirsty monster, rather than a libertarian committed to the non-aggression-principle…
Yes, that’s how I felt about it at the time. The evidence since then has only proven out what any thinking person knew was to come.
Hoppe rightly dismisses Block’s one-sided and distorted telling of the history:
…Block’s sketchy, characteristically one-sided remarks on the history of modern Israel and the region aside, which could have come directly from the Israeli ministry of propaganda…
Further, Hoppe again does a point-by-point takedown of Block’s views in this editorial, from a libertarian perspective. He then adds, addressing the most egregious aspects of Block’s work:
What must be avoided, however, in any case and at all costs, is an escalation of the armed conflict through a massive retaliatory strike by the Israeli military against the Hamas housing and hiding out in Gaza.
But this is precisely what Block et.al. are demanding.
Hoppe then addresses several of the many unhinged comments of Block’s, which need not be repeated here.
Whatever these outpourings of Block’s are, they have nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. In fact, to advocate the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents is the total and complete negation of libertarianism and the non-aggression principle.
I am not so concerned about the negation of libertarianism and the non-aggression principle. I mean, I guess I am, as the NAP is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition for liberty and peace. But the ways in which these concepts are understood by many who claim the labels make them less than helpful in even understanding what these words mean, let alone describing all that is necessary for a peaceful life and community.
Walter Block, in almost every way, demonstrates his credentials in and adherence to libertarian principles. Yet, he manages to combine, in one person, the worst of left-libertarianism (open borders and abortion, for example) with the worst of Ayn Randianism (Palestinians are animals, for example).
This combination is far more destructive than the reality of Block’s negation of the non-aggression principle. This combination places Block in the group of those who wish to destroy any semblance of a culture that holds values conducive to life and liberty.