MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Suing the NY Times – All The Lies That Fit

Posted by Martin C. Fox on August 17, 2017

George Will had a good review of Sam Tanenhaus’ Whittaker Chambers biography. It is a marvelous book. I had respect for Tanenhaus, until I got to know him.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/08/walter-e-block/suing-libelous-ny-times/

I did a series of interviews with Sam Tanenhaus a journalist of this “newspaper of record,” who was asking me what libertarianism was all about (his goal, I later learned, silly me, was to besmirch this philosophy, and me, so that he could undermine the then presidential candidacy of Rand Paul).

…the libertarian movement, properly understood, was predicated upon two major premises that Murray Rothbard had always stressed: the non-aggression principle (NAP), and private property rights based on homesteading.

I tried and tried to get this across to him. He just wasn’t getting it. So, eventually, I used the most extreme example I could think of: slavery. I asked why is slavery such an abomination, one of the most serious rights violation ever perpetrated on man by man. Was it due to picking cotton, eating gruel, living in a shack, and all other such things to which slaves were subjected? No, I answered, none of these things gets to the root of the atrocity of slavery. Rather, I averred, slavery was such an evil due to the fact that this “curious institution” violated the NAP. Mr. Tanenhaus still didn’t get it. So, digging deeper I said, suppose that all the evil things that were done to slaves were instead inflicted on free men; hypothetical coming up here, suppose picking cotton, eating gruel, living in a shack, and all the other things to which slaves were subjected was done on a voluntary basis. Then, this sort of “slavery” would not be so bad.

The New York Times then misquoted me as maintaining that actual slavery, as practiced in the U.S. until 1865, was “not so bad.” So, I sued them.

Be seeing you

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I am not a number. I am a free man!

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