SurrealPolitiksRealpolitik in an Unreal World

SurrealPolitiks S01E062 – Against Libertarianism

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On Episode 72 of the Radical Agenda, our uncensored production, I penned and pronounced a defense of one Walter Block after he was stripped of his titles at the Mises Institute, and the Ron Paul Institute, both libertarian think tanks.

Subsequent to this I ended up in a correspondence with Mr. Block. I won’t share his words, as I’ve not sought his permission to do so, but the things I had to say to him are also worth saying to you, and what follows is an adaptation of several emails I sent to him.

It is not lost on me that I could be credibly accused of using this “defense” as more of a way to push my own agenda, but the title of the episode does convey an accurate sentiment. I’ve always been very fond of you, and I have long admired your intellect.

I have never observed you behaving dishonestly, which is more than I can say for your detractors.

When I saw Hoppe come after you, I figured it’s just a disagreement. One which many reasonable people have these days, as you surely know too well.

When I saw they pushed you out of Mises, that I genuinely got mad about.

The Hoppe piece had been brought to my attention during a live show by a caller. I read Hoppe’s piece on air, along with some unprepared commentary based on what I had just read. The episode number escapes me at the moment, or I’d point you toward the recording.

The gist of what I said then, and currently believe, is, I don’t think it is at all unreasonable to say that an identifiable group has a collective right to something. Whether one claim or another is legitimate is a different story, but conceptually, this is the nature of the human condition, and those who resist it, do violence to the peace and happiness of mankind. Trying to conceptualize things in this atomized legalistic way libertarians are predisposed to doing, simply does not work in real life.

They actually know this, as evidenced by their abhorrence of genocide. They see it is as much worse to kill a race of people than to simply kill some equal number of a heterogeneous population with little in common. This disparity of moral sentiment stems from a recognition that the race of people has a collective right to exist which is actually of a higher order than any individual member. They refuse to say this out loud, but it is an obvious inference from their other statements and behaviors.

This paragraph really got to me, in Hoppe’s “Open Letter” to you…

For the potential problem of restitution or compensation this implies: In every case of conflicting property claims brought to trial for judgment, the presumption is always in favor of the current possessor of the resource under consideration, and the burden of a proof-to-the-contrary is always on the opponent of the current state of affairs and current possessions. The opponent must demonstrate that he, contrary to prima facie appearance, has a better claim because he has an older title to some specified piece of property than its current owner and whose ownership is hence unlawful. If and only if an opponent can successfully demonstrate this must the questionable possession be restored as property to him. On the other hand, if the opponent fails to make this case matters stay the way they are.

Well, that is a fine legal standard for individuals under a common legal system.

It is completely unsuited to an explicitly ethnic conflict over territory!

If one race of people attacks another race of people on the basis of that ethnic conflict, libertarians assert that the race being attacked cannot defend itself, as a race. They are supposed to treat this like some kind of cross border homicide investigation and bring the perps to trial, even as all their neighbors call the perpetrators heroes and martyrs and provide them aid and comfort. If they cannot bring about a resolution by libertarian standards, then the libertarians assert the attack must simply go unanswered.

Well, pardon my language, but forget that nonsense.

Where are all the libertarians attacking pro-Palestine advocates on the basis that they must individually prove their claims to property? Maybe they exist, but they are not coming across my radar, for sure. I don’t hear about any pro-Palestine advocates being thrown out of libertarian institutions, numerous though they certainly are.

They all throw in the obligatory “I don’t agree with Hamas” line, call them animals, terrorists, whatever, but then they act like Hamas is some kind of rogue criminal enterprise rather than the popularly supported military and espionage service for the Palestinian authorities.

But the best thing that can be said about this is that those commentators speak in willful ignorance of the facts. The more likely interpretation is that they are being intellectually dishonest. They know exactly what they are talking about, and they are applying the Left wing White colonizer/oppressor narrative to the Jews and their supposedly oppressed brown neighbors.

That line of thinking is an enemy of mankind, and those who adopt it discredit themselves much more than those they attack.

It is a sad loss for the Mises and Ron Paul institutes to lose the generosity of your contributions over this, but I have no doubt you will continue your service to peace and freedom for so long as you are able, and I do hope that nothing else gets in the way of that honorable service.

I recall years back, I got into a spat with a Left winger who tried to cozy up to the libertarians by the name of Antonio Buehler, a name I suspect might ring a bell to you.

He had gone around dishonestly trashing my reputation, including making false reports to Facebook. Those reports had the effect of getting me blocked from posting to Facebook for a month. This happened more than once, and Facebook was my single biggest driver of traffic.

This was tremendously costly to me, and I had asserted that Mr. Buehler fraudulently deprived me of value, and had therefore acted in an unlibertarian manner.

Stephen Kinsella chimed in to say that one has no right to a reputation, and that libertarianism only protects “scarce physical resources”. So, by this standard, Mr. Buehler was free to slander me day in and day out, and cost me as much money as his lying lips and fingers could endeavor to destroy. I was entirely without recourse other than to discourage others from associating with him, with my now diminished voice, because in this interpretation, libertarianism does not protect “value” as such, only “scarce physical resources”.

Well, that may serve Mr. Kinsella’s vendetta against intellectual property quite well, but it does nothing to advance the peace and happiness of mankind. If people run around destroying those things we value, be they tangible or entirely within the mind, then we naturally feel compelled to defend those things. Trying to train mankind out of that impulse is an absurd and futile exercise.

What does any man have more valuable than his reputation?

Interestingly, when I published the chat transcript between myself and Mr. Kinsella, he accused me of behaving disreputably, though we had no contractual agreement to keep the conversation between us. Some obligations are just implied, goes the thinking, and I guess Mr. Kinsella thinks telling the truth is not one of those implied obligations.

Met with this obvious problem, some respond to say that, in a libertarian social order, we could have some contractual agreement wherein it is agreed upon that we do not slander. Or, in the Hoppean covenant community, this would be a standard set by the landlord/monarch, and to breach it would be a breach of the covenant and thus penalty would ensue.

That provides us with absolutely no guidance on how to deal with things as they are today, and thus we are compelled to seek recourse either through the arbitration services of the State, or to take the law into our own hands and apply force ourselves to stop the destruction of those things we value.

Hans Hoppe recognizes this much when it comes to immigration. Be though it may that a libertarian asserts the government’s purported ownership of those things we call borders is illegitimate, this does not mean that the border should be left open for all who care to traipse across it. In the event the border were privately owned, we know that no private owner would permit entire nations of people to cross his land free of cost and destroy his way of life in the process. Thus, so long as immigration control is a government monopoly, Hoppe recognizes that it is a wholly appropriate application of physical force, and expenditure of coercively collected taxes, to repel the invading migrants.

“They must be physically removed” after all…

So at what point does this line of atomistic legalism become the libertarian standard of conduct in the world we now live? The answer is clearly not so well defined as so many bold assertions would have us believe.

Tom Woods touched on a similar concept sometime in, I think it was 2016 I want to say, during an episode of his show. The guest’s name escapes me, but it really influenced my thinking and my politics were never the same subsequent.

The gist of the conversation was that, whether it is a religious idea, or some cultural norm, or anything of that nature, human beings place a great deal of value on what could be described as concepts.

The Left asserts that all manner of things, such as gender or race are “social constructs” and by this standard declares them illegitimate, even as they hold up many other (much more absurd) concepts as absolute fact and objective moral truth, such as transgenderism, or equality (now equity, of course).

It is absurd to suggest that these “constructs” and values are exempt from economic analysis.

Does anybody actually think that the ideas we all base our lives around have no impact on the economy?

Does anybody think GPD will be unaffected if we chemically castrate every child who responds to classroom teachings about gender ideology?

If people wage war against your culture and religion and way of life, without actually laying their hands upon person or property, are we to declare that this form of warfare cannot be defended against?

If the libertarians want to make such assertions, they do so at the peril of their own ideas. Nobody in their right mind is ever going to accept that standard.

For a long time, as I got more involved in the Alt Right, I still told people “I’m a libertarian at heart”.

I eventually stopped saying that, because these contradictions were popping up all over the place, and, quoth Ayn Rand “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”

What I eventually came to conclude could be summarized as follows:

There is no substitution for decent and honest people running a government with coercive powers in service to the interests of its citizenry. There are no axiomatic formulas that free us of life’s uncertainties, or the trust that civilization requires. The best that we can hope for is wise and responsible leaders who will make the best decisions they can based on the circumstances of the moment, and given what we know about mankind even this quite the aspirational hope.

It is all fine and well that people have different views and ways of life, but when those views reach a certain degree of difference, they can no longer share a common territory or system of government. The outcome of this is inevitably hostility escalating into lethal violence and warfare until one way of life prevails over the other, or they go their separate ways to lick their wounds and live apart.

I did not come to that conclusion lightly.

I did not want to be branded a hateful bigot and violent criminal.
I did not want to upset all of my non white and Jewish friends.
I did not want to be uninvited from my family holiday gatherings over the certainty that my presence would upset members of my family who had intermarried with other cultures and ethnicities.
I certainly was not prepared for the black woman who briefly carried my child to text me, scared out of her mind, while I was hiding from Virginia law enforcement because she saw me on the news.
It was not among my goals for the Joint Terrorist Task Force to spend years investigating me and to throw me in prison for three years over some ridiculous instant messenger outburst.

But I would do all of those things again, and again, and again, if it meant even the slightest hope of having some impact on changing our current political trajectory, because my most sincere belief is that we are racing towards nuclear warfare, and political outcomes that will make the Soviet Union look like a Rothbardian Utopia.

It’s totally fine with me if that bars me from being a libertarian.

What I liked about libertarianism was the promise it made. That people, if they adopted this standard, would live peaceful, productive, and fulfilling lives. Once it became obvious to me that this promise would not be fulfilled, I went on in search of something that would.

My search continues…

I’ll have much more to say about this, and plenty more, when SurrealPolitiks airs live, this and every Monday at 9:30pm US Eastern on Rumble, and on Odysee, and on the GetMeRadio app for smartphone, Roku, and FireTV.


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SurrealPolitiks PodcastEpisode 65