A libertarian is a liberal, cont.

Is there any anti-“white racism” liberal slogan that Ron (“Michele Bachmann hates Muslims”) Paul, the hero of the paleocons and paleo-libertarians, won’t adopt?

JC in Houston writes:

I saw this in the story about last night’s debate:

Paul also claimed Martin Luther King was one of his personal heroes, and insisted that he was “the only one up here … that understands true racism in this country is in the judicial system. And it has to do with enforcing the drug laws.”

“Look at the percentages,” he continued. “The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites. And yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately. They’re prosecuted and imprisoned way disproportionately … How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution?”

Sounds like something from the ACLU or the SPLC.

- end of initial entry -

January 9

Dan R. writes:

Over at Lew Rockwell.com, now (and pretty much always) the unofficial Ron Paul campaign website and very much a libertarian site, the various bloggers have been hard at it trying to disassociate Paul from the now-infamous newsletters. A number of video links have been posted showing comments Paul has made which demonstrate his compassion for the discrimination suffered by blacks, including this, which goes into slightly more detail on those drug war numbers:

“A system designed to protect individual liberty will have no punishments for any group and no privileges. Today I think inner-city folks—minorities—are punished unfairly in the War on Drugs. For instance, blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36% of those arrested are blacks and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are blacks. This has to change. We don’t have to have more courts and more prisons. We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn’t working. We have already spent over $400 billion since the early ’70s and it’s a wasted money. Prohibition didn’t work, prohibition on drugs doesn’t work, so we need to come to our senses and absolutely—it’s a disease—we don’t treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease and we should orient ouselves to this. That is one way you could have equal justice under the law.”

And there is more on this 4:28 video. Toward the end Paul goes into an explanation of why it’s impossible for libertarians to be racists because they always see people as individuals and never judge them by “the color of their skin” (the surefire code words of the knee-jerk anti-racist).

At one time I really liked Ron Paul, and in fact remain sympathetic to much of what he has to say, but on matters of race and immigration Paul has come out as a garden variety liberal and just as clueless. Somewhere around the time of the newsletters, Rockwell and Tom Fleming entered into somewhat of an alliance (in retrospect probably out of a commonality with Murray Rothbard more than anything else), institutionalized in the form of the John Randolph Club, which still holds conferences but has been devoid of its libertarian wing for about the past ten years. Race-realism has become alien to both Rockwell and Paul, and it’s highly amusing to watch them squirm over the issue of the newsletters. Ah, Schadenfreude!

Mark Jaws writes:

I will argue with anyone who thinks Ron Paul and other libertarians are liberal. Libertarians believe in the freedom to thrive and in the freeedom to fail. They wish to eliminate the welfare state and affirmative action. Now imagine the impact that would have on the hordes of Shareka, Tomeka, and DeMario welfare state “beneficiaries.” The secondary and tertiary effects of eliminating the welfare state would do more to help restore the traditional America than anything Santorum, Palin, or even Bachmann would prescribe.

And as for Paul having to backpedal over the alleged racist remarks in his newsletters (I would call them accurate remarks), this is 2012, and we have to play the game until we can recreate a climate in which the truth can be spoken., As I have stated repeatedly, we did not get into this PC mess overnight. Thus, we will have to destroy the stranglehold of liberalism one tentacle at a time.

LA replies:

The problem with Mr. Jaws’s argument is that there is not the slightest prospect of the welfare state being eliminated in the foreseeable future. So eliminating the welfare state is not an actual part of our actual politics. But the tyrannical rule of anti-discrimination dominates our actual politics and completely controls our society. And since the libertarians believe in the badness of discrimination as much as or more than liberals do, the actual effect of libertarians on our politics is to help empower the tyrannical rule of anti-discrimination, as we see very well in the case of Paul’s recent statements.

In sum, the anti-liberal part of libertarianism is largely irrelevant to our political reality, while the liberal part of libertarianism plays a significant role in supporting and fortifying liberal tyranny.

Jim Kalb writes:

I agree that in principle libertarianism is liberalism and the two end up in the same place in the long run. I’d add that the long run isn’t all that long in the case of a libertarianism that tries to succeed in national politics. That requires making nice with the national media, and the only libertarian arguments they’ll cover favorably are libertarian arguments that support standard-issue liberalism.

For all that, there are libertarians and libertarians. Richard Epstein is a libertarian, and he wrote a great book (Forbidden Grounds) against the antidiscrimination laws that justified certain forms of discrimination. Charles Murray is a libertarian, and he’s said lots of good things. It seems to me one thing trads should do is make the pitch to intelligent and humane libertarians that if they want to have the freedoms they value (e.g., the freedom of ordinary people to deal with others in accordance with arrangements and understandings that make sense to them), they need something other than freedom as their highest social principle. Because if freedom is the highest principle then all traditional social arrangements have to go and we all end up in strait jackets to keep us from oppressing each other.

Mark Jaws replies to LA:
Two points—First, when I said “welfare state,” I really meant Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), not Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. I believe there is considerable bipartisan support among the American populace (to include about 40 percent of Democrats) to end welfare as a way of life—permanently, particularly given the Ron Paul mantra of “We can no longer afford to (fill in the blank).” When it comes to AFDC and its disastrous and costly secondary and tertiary effects we have all come to loathe, I would say a skilled, articulate libertarian (Ron Paul may not be the one) could garner the support to kill the program. Second, libertarians are also against the anti-white racial profiling also known as affirmative action. I think you need to listen to Ron Paul and libertarians a little more closely. [LA replies: Why should I waste my time listening to someone who goes on the Tonight Show and says that Michele Bachmann “hates Muslims,” someone who says that the reason more blacks are in jail than whites is white discrimination against blacks? And by the way, Mark, to attack, as racist, unequal incarceration rates among different racial groups is to demand equal incarceration rates among those groups; it is to argue for racial quotas. So your statement that Paul is against affirmative action is incorrect. Right-liberalism (procedural equality for all individuals regardless of their group) ALWAYS leads to left-liberalism (equality of outcome for all groups), which in turn leads to the destruction of the majority group of the host society and its culture.]

I am not yet sold on all of their agenda, but I am at least beginning to warm up to most of it. What I do admire about the libertarians is their passionate adherence to principle—a quality woefully lacking in most conservative politicians.

Libertarians are liberals Leonard D. writes:

Regarding this posting, I have two points to make.

First, it is true that libertarians are liberal. This is true as a simple historical matter—indeed, “liberal” in many English-speaking countries still means libertarian. It is true that modern liberals have evolved quite a bit away from the philosophy of their forebears. And libertarians therefore are right-wing, since they continue to propound the older ideas. But those older ideas were the left of their time.

Nonetheless, I don’t think that the libertarian position on discrimination is liberal. Libertarians believe that the government should not discriminate, and indeed will often go further than most liberals in arguing that. For example most libertarians argue for allowing women and open homosexuals in the armed forces. But libertarians also believe that private discrimination is a right, and oppose all government imposition of anti-discrimination on citizens, private corporations, etc. Of course, most (but unlike the mainstream, not all) libertarians do think that private discrimination is evil. It is, of course, impossible to get elected in democracy if you let on that you think any discrimination is OK. [LA replies: Since, as you yourself admit, most libertarians believe private discrimination is evil, why bother even raising the issue? Further, how would it help us even if it libertarians were only against government discrimination, since so much of the anti-discrimination measures that have wrecked our society affect government—e.g., immigration, e.g., public education, e.g., any discrimination done by a private entity that has some relationship, no matter how tangential, with government? So why bother making this distinction which adds up to so little?]

I don’t find Paul’s arguments against the drug war offensive, but this is because I oppose the drug war, which in quite unconstitutional. (100 years ago it was obvious that a constitutional amendment would be required to ban alcohol. But the drug war started well after the FDR revolution; after the Constitution was defeated.) Certainly Paul’s arguments based on white/black rates of arrest or punishment have force only for people who believe that both races have the same crime rates—which is false. On the other hand, this argument works well on progressives and liberals.

Second, it is true that Ron Paul has made many statements that any anti-progressive should dislike—in particular in accusing Bachmann of hatred. However, given that this is democratic politics, there will never be a perfect candidate. [LA replies: That’s a false argument. The standard is not that the supposed conservative candidate be perfect. The standard is that he not be a flamboyant, aggressive, politically correct liberal who baits other conservatives for being “haters.” And your man Paul has repeatedly shown himself to be such a PC liberal.] And for that matter, a candidate who is perfect for you or most VFR readers is simply not electable. So if you plan to endorse anyone, you must compromise. [LA replies: you think that the detestable anti-American Ron Paul is electable? It was to avoid such silly conversations that I have generally avoided the subject of Paul at this site.]

Is Ron Paul more or less liberal than anyone else in the race? In my opinion, among all the candidates remaining Ron Paul would be the only one to make much of a difference as President—because he would veto practically everything the Congress passes and force Congress to operate on a veto-overriding 66% basis. This would bring on a crisis with much opportunity for Paul to use the bully pulpit to educate Americans about what the Constitution actually means. [LA replies: That ridiculous ideologue couldn’t educate the American people about how to chew gum.]

Not that it will happen. As we saw last time: libertarianism is a minority taste. Currently the media deals with Paul by its primary tactic of simply ignoring anyone considered sufficiently non-liberal. (That the media does this, and to which candidates, is a good clue of who is most dangerous in the Progressive estimation. Bachmann was treated similarly.) But if Paul did start to challenge Romney seriously we would see more and more discussion of his newsletters and purported racism, anti-Israelism, etc. culminating in a veritable anti-racism feeding frenzy and daily two minutes hate, if necessary.

Mark L. writes:

One thing I notice about libertarianism is that it’s entirely NEGATIVE. Look at Ron Paul’s statement about ending the war on drugs, in which the only benefit to society is that things will go away: reduced costs, fewer prisons, less inequities in the justice system. Where is the positive vision of a society that now has all these cost savings and surplus human beings no longer in jail?

For instance, he compares the war on drugs with Prohibition, and notes that the success of doing away with the latter shows we should follow suit with the former. It used to be conservatives, like William Bennett, would actually argue that Prohibition had a generally positive effect on society, and that since its repeal alcohol abuse has become normalized and more widespread.

But let’s go with the consensus, and grant that with the end of Prohibition, at least the organized crime element was dealt a serious blow, now that there was no longer the profit motive for bootleggers and rum-runners, who were replaced by actual legit businesses which produce alcohol to higher, cleaner standards in the clear light of day.

So what’s the end game when it comes to doing the same thing with the illicit drugs that are wreaking such havoc on the “folks” in the black community? Blacks are dealers AND users, so let’s start with the dealing aspect first. If we follow the analogy to Prohibition, where Grandpa’s bathtub gin business was taken over by J&W Nicholson & Co., what happens with illicit drugs? Will Pfizer start producing a cleaner, safer form of crystal meth? Will Eli Lilly introduce a line of crack cocaine?

Laughable you say? But wait, we’re following the end of Prohibition as our model—let’s be consistent!

And if that happens, how will the users of the newer, cleaner drugs fare, now their pusher is Johnson & Johnson—a company answerable to thousands of investors with no less a profit motive than the gangster they replaced?

Will the users find new and creative ways to get the money? Or if the price is too high, will they continue to find ways of making and distributing their own drugs?

And then what happens to the community which was supposed to be saved by ending the war on drugs?

What would Paul (or any other committed libertarian) say in response to the above questions if pushed?

I suspect they would have to acknowledge there is an element to human nature that will continue to crave things that are bad for them, notwithstanding the new WARNING statements issued on Eli Lilly’s box of crack (“May cause premature death—for you and/or others near you”). Well, for those who succumb, Ron Paul has offered a hint at a solution, though only a hint:

“[Illicit drug use is] a disease—we don’t treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease and we should orient ourselves to this.”

Okay, so how does he propose to “treat” the disease?

Is Paul a libertarian purist who says that when the war on drugs is repealed, that all individuals will be left to sink or swim on their own, with the help of whatever communities they belong to, and if they sink, that’s their problem as individuals?

Or is he saying more should be done BY THE STATE to help people who are afflicted by this disease? Somehow I suspect the latter. But the point is he—and all libertarians—should be forced to explain their na├»ve, formulaic ideas before anyone agrees to take them or their proposals seriously.

Lydia McGrew writes:

I wanted to respond to what Mark Jaws said about how he is warming to libertarians because they are so passionately principled. I used to think that this was true and that the problem lay in the fact that (some ) libertarian principles are so extreme and juvenile that libertarians are willing to accept insane conclusions in the name of consistency.

However, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that most libertarians are not all that principled either. I knew this already because of the support of many self-styled libertarians for homosexual “marriage,” without any recognition of the totalitarianism this both embodies and leads to.

I think some people believe that Ron Paul is immune to this sort of unprincipled libertarianism. I don’t think so. He recently said that the federal government should protect people’s right to do what they want to do with their own bodies. It is true that he said this in the context of federal drug laws, but, as a principle (since it is principles we are talking about), this is neither a states’ rights nor a small-government principle. If the federal government exists to protect the rights of individuals, then the federal government should strike down (through judicial fiat) or override state laws that restrict the right of individuals to do what they want with their own bodies. This is the principle that lies behind judicial decisions like Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, and the various first-amendment pornography rulings. But what is a libertarian doing articulating that principle?

Moreover, Ron Paul’s pro-Muslim stance and opposition to profiling are also not principled libertarianism, when one thinks about it. They make the principle of non-discrimination a higher priority than the freedom of the majority of Americans to go about their business without unreasonable search. Anyone who would rather live in a police state where little old ladies in wheelchairs are hand-searched by the TSA rather than engage in profiling and immigration restriction is not a good libertarian but a liberal plain and simple.

I believe that Ron Paul’s popularity, in this election especially, is having the effect of turning some conservatives into liberals.

Timothy A. writes:

Today on his radio show, Dennis Prager attacked Ron Paul’s claims on blacks disproportionately receiving the death penalty by pointing out that blacks commit murder at a much higher rate than do whites, so on race realism, Paul is worse than Prager. This is not a good place to be for someone appealing to the traditionalist vote. Furthermore, this represents a 180 degree reversal from the Paul/Rockwell/Rothbard line of the early 1990s, which would tend to undermine claims of Paul’s principled stands on the issues.

January 10

James N. writes:

I was a libertarian in college, and even had a passing infatuation with the organized LP, voting for Joe Clark in 1980.

Of course, I have grown up quite a bit since then.

I did want to speak, however, to the electoral dimension. Tim A. said it best: “This is not a good place to be for someone appealing to the traditionalist vote.”

The problem with this is that the “traditionalist vote” is almost nonexistent. We can have our national convention in a small to medium-sized restaurant.

I still do not have the VFR view of elections in sharp focus. I am especially interested in the questions, should we vote? If so, should we vote for candidates who reflect our beliefs (i.e., candidates who are certain to lose), should we vote strategically (candidate closest to us who could win), should we vote to deny majorities to candidates who should be punished, etc, etc.

Libertarians don’t get it. But neither do any of the other ones.

LA replies:

I do not have a general philosophy on that. It depends on each election. In the last four presidential elections I have voted for a third party candidate or a write-in candidate as the most meaningful way of expressing my views. But in 2012, as I’ve said many times, I will vote for any GOP candidate who is pledged to repeal Obamacare, as that is an issue of supreme importance this year. Other important issues are not going to be decided this year. For example, whoever the GOP nominee is, he will support the Bush-Obama Muslim “democratization” policy. Whoever the GOP nominee is, he will support our current legal immigration policy and the continued mass immigration of Muslims. So those issues are not going to be decided this year. But Obamacare—or rather the repeal of Obamacare—will be decided this year, and therefore it’s necessary to vote for a candidate who is pledged to repeal it and who can win. And of course there are other uniquely bad things about Obama that need to be stopped by electing a Republican.

I no longer believe that America will turn away from its long-term course to ruin. But in the short term, things can quickly get much much worse than they are, and it is incumbent on us to try to prevent those much worse things from happening which we can prevent from happening.

Jeff C. writes:

You might have misstated an idea, or I might have missed an aspect of your thought.

You wrote,

“Right-liberalism (procedural equality for all individuals regardless of their group) ALWAYS leads to left-liberalism (equality of outcome for all groups), which in turn leads to the destruction of the majority group of the host society and its culture.”

Am focusing on the phrase “procedural equality.” I took that to mean equality under the law. Do you believe that a black man should be treated equally to a white man, under the law? If you do believe that, what do you mean by “procedural equality”? If you don’t believe that, what did you mean when you once said that you would object to a black person being treated unfairly?

LA replies:

There are too many aspects of this to reply to in a comment. But let’s start by saying that it depends on context. As a general matter, American citizens regardless of their background should be treated by their government under the same procedures. So for example people who do equally well on a civil service exam should have the same chance for a particular government job.

But should a private citizen or business be required, by the government, to treat everyone equally regardless of background? Should a Korean owned dry cleaner be forced by the government to hire non-Koreans, in order to assure equal treatment of all groups? Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its enforcement mechanisms, that is what we have.

And even with government actions, is it really good to treat people just as individuals regardless of group? Is it good to include white prisoners with black prisoners in state prisons, resulting in much more violence, rape of white prisoners and so on? In that case, prudence requires taking group into account and not simply treating people as abstract individuals.

Yes, I do believe that black people should not be treated unfairly. But what, precisely, does that mean? We can agree that if a black person’s basic rights are being violated, that is unfair. But if I choose not to socialize with blacks, am I being unfair to blacks? If I am an employer with a small business and I choose not to hire a black person (for whatever reason) am I being unfair to blacks? If I choose not to marry a black woman or an Asian woman, am I being unfair to blacks or Asians? (Dennis Prager says that it is racist for white people to prefer to marry whites.)

And getting back to the government side of the issue, if a Western country chooses not to allow African or Muslim immigration, is it being unfair to Africans or Muslims? Liberals and most conservatives would say that such a country is being unfair, indeed, horribly unjust and immoral. I obviously don’t agree.

An adequate treatment of these issues would require a much lengthier discussion than what is possible here.

However, my main point in the comment you questioned was that enforced equality of rights and procedures for people of different groups, adopted with the purpose of ending discrimination against some out-group, inevitably leads to group privileges for the out-group. The classic example is of course the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was ostensibly and formally aimed at ending discrimination against blacks as individuals (i.e., a qualified applicant is turned down for no other reason than that he is black), but immediately was transformed into a tyrannical government power to force businesses to hire a certain number of blacks to prove that they were not discriminating.

Art F. writes:

You are correct. Libertarianism is an ideology for 13-year-olds.

But it is also, at bottom, a leftist ideology. It is radically anti-Christian, and no true Christian can abide the core beliefs of libertarians, particularly the “Austrians,” and call himself a Christian.

You might check out the excellent book, “The Church and the Libertarians,” published by The Remnant, which destroys the Austrians and their pretense at being orthodox Catholics.

Happy New Year!

Art from Texas writes:

I would agree that Ron Paul has problems. But I would still consider him better than any other candidate except Santorum. I know Ron Paul made statements in support of using the Federal government to protect individuals. I am hoping he does not genuinely believe that is it’s job, and is actually a supporter of states rights. This would indicate he has not been entirely principled, but I find it a bit more forgivable than Gingrich or Perry’s attempts to appear conservative. I would also point out that if the federal drug war was ended, drugs could still be criminalized by the states.

Dean Ericson writes:

“That ridiculous ideologue couldn’t educate the American people about how to chew gum.”

Hah-ha-ha-hah! That was a good one, made my morning. You know, I’m getting the distinct impression you really don’t care for Paul, nosirree bob, not at all.

Paul K. writes:

You wrote, “Whoever the GOP nominee is, he will support our current legal immigration policy and the continued mass immigration of Muslims. “

This is true, and it is deplorable, but I don’t believe a Republican president would continue the Obama administration’s practice of aggressively suing states that attempt to control the problem of illegal immigration. As bad as he was, I don’t think even Jorge Busheron would have done this. That, to me, is another reason to vote for any Republican rather than allow a second term for Obama.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 08, 2012 10:48 PM | Send

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