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How Decades of Media and Faculty Bias Have Pushed America to the Left | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2020

A third example comes from the editors at Merriam-Webster(continually updated online). After US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett used the phrase “sexual preference,” she was denounced for using “offensive” language by US senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. This was confusing to many observers, since the term has long been used as a nonpejorative term and has even been used in recent years by both Joe Biden and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

https://mises.org/wire/how-decades-media-and-faculty-bias-have-pushed-america-left?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=74bfb9f742-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-74bfb9f742-228343965

Ryan McMaken

It’s been clear for decades that national news organizations such as CNN and the New York Times tend to be biased in favor of social democracy (i.e., “progressivism”) and what we would generally call a “left-wing” ideology. Journalists, for instance, identify as Democrats in far higher numbers than any other partisan group. And political donations by members of the media overwhelmingly go to Democratic candidates.

This is why even as far back as the 1940s, libertarian and conservative groups felt the need to found their own news sources, publishing houses, and other outlets for the distribution of information.

Similarly, in recent decades, higher education faculty have been shown to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Democratic Party, both in affiliation and in donations. In addition to providing instruction at colleges and universities, these people are the ones who write textbooks, history books, and the scholarly publications that influence other faculty members, secondary school teachers, and current students.

It would be shocking if the net effect of this clear bias were not to push the public—at least those members of the public who view news media broadcasts, read textbooks, and attend college classes—in the direction of the ideology favored by the journalists and professors.

But the means for manufacturing an ideological bias don’t end there. In recent years we have increasingly been seeing other institutions—outside newsrooms and universities—that are taking an active role in shaping the public’s ideology. These include social media firms, and even online sources of information once considered relatively outside the reach of political controversies.

This is what is to be expected when a single ideological group controls educational institutions and major media outlets over a period of several decades. Under these conditions—and unless other institutions provide an effective alternative—the ideology that is dominant within schools and newsrooms will spread to become the ideology of the larger general public. Thus, we should expect to see more and more doctrinaire ideological activism in the larger society, in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Controlling the Message outside the Media and Academia

We’ve seen a few examples of this over the past week. The first example is Twitter’s concerted and admitted effort to hide the NY Post’s exposé on potentially damaging emails from Joe Biden’s son. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, first claimed that the company’s efforts to prevent Twitter users from sharing the story were a “mistake” and offered some rather implausible explanations. After the Post and a variety of right-leaning groups expressed outrage over the affair, the company backed down. This is just the latest of many cases of media companies making efforts to edit, curate, and control the information being communicated on their websites.

Another example comes from Wikipedia, where—in spite of the apparent veracity of the Post’s story on Hunter Biden—the claims against Hunter Biden are casually dismissed as “debunked.” No evidence has been presented to support this claim, and the Biden campaign has not denied the claims made in the Post’s story.

A third example comes from the editors at Merriam-Webster(continually updated online). After US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett used the phrase “sexual preference,” she was denounced for using “offensive” language by US senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. This was confusing to many observers, since the term has long been used as a nonpejorative term and has even been used in recent years by both Joe Biden and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

However, by a startling “coincidence,” editors at Merriam-Webster apparently modified the definition of the phrase “sexual preference,” adding the word “offensive” in reference to use of the term following the spat between Barrett and Hirono. Use of the Wayback Machine shows that two weeks earlier the word “offensive” had not been included in the definition.

These examples likely illustrate a growing role for left-wing ideologues outside official news media in shaping and manipulating public opinion for purposes of promoting one political faction over another.

These examples are certainly not the only evidence that companies that deal in internet-delivered data have very clear political preferences. Studies have shown that political donations coming out of Silicon Valley overwhelmingly favor Democrats. At Twitter, from the company’s founding to 2012, 100 percent of political donations made by company employees were to Democrats. In 2016, 90 percent of political donations coming out of Google went to Democrats.

The Natural Outcome of Years of Educational Bias

None of this should surprise us. For decades, the public’s predominant source of information about the nation’s history and political institutions has been the establishment “mainstream” media, public schools, and America’s higher education system.

This has a sizable effect on the public’s views and ideology. Staffers at tech companies, dictionary editors, and managers at Google are all part of this public.

Moreover, the sorts of people who work at Silicon Valley companies, and who work as editors and website designers, tend to have degrees obtained from colleges and universities. These are the same colleges and universities that today’s journalists and pundits attended. They’re the same colleges and universities that public school teachers attended, and which today’s attorneys, corporate CEOs, and high-level managers attended.

Moreover, over time, the share of the public attending these colleges and universities has grown. Fifty years ago, only around 10 percent of Americans completed college. Today, the total is around one-third.

Also not surprising: more schooling apparently tends to translate into more left-wing political views. Data from a wide variety of sources has shown that Americans with more schooling tend to self-identify as “liberal” more often. According to the Pew Research Center, from 1994 to 2015, the percentage of college graduates who were “mostly liberal” or “consistently liberal” increased from 25 percent to 44 percent. At the same time, those who were “mostly conservative” or “consistently conservative” remained almost unmoved, from 30 percent to 29 percent. In other words, the number of college graduates with ”mixed” views has shifted overwhelmingly to the left. This trend is even stronger among Americans who have attended graduate school.

This would seem to be only natural. After all, the faculty has shifted to the left in recent decades. In 1990, according to survey data by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, 42 percent of professors identified as ”liberal” or ”far-left.” By 2014, that number had jumped to 60 percent. Journalists have moved in the same direction.

So if it seems to you that corporate employees, college grads, and the media-consuming public is moving to the left, you’re probably not imagining things.

Why It’s So Important to Build Institutions That Offer an Alternative

More astute observers of the current scene have long recognized that ”politics is downstream from culture.” In other words, if we want to change politics, we have to change the worldviews of political actors first. For example, if we want a world which reflects a Christian worldview, we need a large portion of the population to actually believe in that worldview. If we want a world where voters and legislators support private property rights, we need a world where a sizable portion of the population was raised and educated to believe private property is a good thing. There are no shortcuts around this.

Unfortunately, the activists who often get the most traction are those who take exactly the opposite position. They offer a ”solution” that involves nothing more than closing the barn door long after the horse has escaped. Yet this position is nonetheless often popular because it offers a quick fix. This position takes this basic form: ”If we can get the right people into political office for the next couple of elections, then everything will be fixed.” Never mind the fact that the ”wrong” people got into office precisely because the voting public had been educated in such a way that they find those politicians’ ideas and positions attractive.

Perhaps the most recent purveyor of this futile and shortsighted view is one-time Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Bannon embraced the idea that ”culture is downstream from politics,” insisting he could deliver a ”permanent majority” in political institutions in opposition to the Left-controlled zeitgeist. All that was necessary, we were told, was to vote for Bannon’s favorite politicians for a few years. Then the public would magically start adopting Bannon’s preferred conservative views. Bannon, however, never offered a strategy any more sophisticated than buying off voters with even bigger welfare programs and crushing government debt. Bannon apparently missed the fact that the votes he needed for this vision had to come from millions of Americans who have already imbibed decades’ worth of major media content and left-wing faculty lectures.

It’s easy to see how Bannon might have thought the message could resonate. After all, we live in a country where millions of self-described ”conservatives” willingly send their children to sixteen years of public schooling and then are mystified when little Johnny comes home and announces he’s a Marxist. Apparently these people are very slow learners.

But Bannon’s more insightful colleague Andrew Breitbart knew better. As noted in a profile of Breitbart for TIME magazine in 2010:

As [Breitbart] sees it, the left exercises its power not via mastery of the issues but through control of the entertainment industry, print and television journalism and government agencies that set social policy. “Politics,” he often says, “is downstream from culture. I want to change the cultural narrative.” Thus the Big sites devote their energy less to trying to influence the legislative process in Washington than to attacking the institutions and people Breitbart believes dictate the American conversation.

Although I often disagreed with Breitbart’s editorial and ideological positions, he was certainly right about how political institutions are changed.

But to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to create organizations and institutions that can offer an alternative to the ”entertainment industry, print and television journalism and government agencies that set social policy.” This requires research, writing, podcasts, and videos. It requires educational institutions (like the Mises Institute’s graduate school) that offer views that go against what is usually taught in universities. It requires revisionist historians and scholars who can write books that counter the views pushed in the endless stream of books and articles churned out by professional academics at state-supported institutions. It requires cultural institutions like churches that provide a compelling intellectual vision that can compete with what’s taught in the colleges.

Until that happens, expect institutions like social media, Wikipedia, the mainstream media, and even corporate America to keep moving left and doing it at an increasingly fast pace. And expect the people who control those institutions to be increasingly hostile to those who disagree with them. Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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About Two Years … – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on October 22, 2020

If you are truly on an honest journey to find the right path for your own personal behavior, then rigorously applying the NAP (Non-Aggression Principle) to all facets of your life leads you to shedding the precepts of the necessity of the coercive state to shape and hold society together.

https://tomluongo.me/2020/10/20/about-two-years-anarchy-capitalism/

Author: Tom Luongo

There’s an old joke that runs through hard core libertarian circles that goes something like this.

An overly earnest newbie at a Libertarian Party meeting one night during a lull in a heated discussion of comma placement in a new rule change proposal asks, “What’s the difference between an anarchist and a minarchist?”

The grizzled party chair looks up from his copy of Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty and replies, “About two years.”

And I can tell you that that joke, like all good jokes has a nugget of deep truth in it. Embracing Minarchism is the toe-dip into the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It’s your first tentative step into the scarier world of imagining it without a state.

And it’s a position that’s comforting. But it is also rife with contradictions. Those contradictions weigh on a person who is trying to live up to the ideal of the NAP.

If you are truly on an honest journey to find the right path for your own personal behavior, then rigorously applying the NAP to all facets of your life leads you to shedding the precepts of the necessity of the coercive state to shape and hold society together.

Anarchy in the You ‘Kay?

Because you begin to see the break points, the fault lines of our society in NAP terms. For me, I quickly no longer gave credence to the idea that in order for my individual rights to express themselves I have to submit to a human authority with a granted monopoly power on the use of aggressive force, which the NAP itself stands in opposition to.

At the core of all collectivist thinking is this basic tautology that your rights stem from the negotiation of what others define them as. Only by submitting to a higher human authority over you can you have a hope of retaining any of them, so you need to negotiate them down from the ideal.

Sound complicated? That’s because it is and it’s also insane.

A far simpler interpretation is to state I have a right to life. I have a claim of ownership of myself. Any abrogation of that claim of ownership and right to it by an aggressor is wrong.

Clear, concise, powerful.

Once you come to that conclusion and are willing to apply it consistently then you can become comfortable with freeing your mind of the need for the state.

But it also comes with responsibility. How do you defend those rights? Will you defend every assault on them no matter how minor?

But here’s better questions, ones Marxist will always throw at you to trip you up…

If you don’t defend yourself against a minor theft, say a pen or a coffee mug, was your right to property taken from you? Do you still have it in practical terms if you can’t defend against a murderer?

The answers are, in order, No and Yes. Just because the property was taken or the threat made, you always reserve the right to express the right to defend it.

That you choose not to is… wait for it…

… also your right.

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Neil Peart – Free Will

That leads to basic economic questions like: Should you always do so? When is forgiveness or acceptance better than retribution?

Is it worth my precious time to chase down a guy who sold me a fake watch rather than chalk it up to experience and go about my other business?

These are basic questions that form the filter on which to view the world around you and are the basic seeds of the growth from being mired in the inconsistencies of Minarchism and blossoming into the flower of Anarchism.

The Right Stuff

It leads you to conclusions about how to find ways to minimize, not eliminate, coercive forces on your life. That we live in a world circumscribed by tyrants constantly climbing over each other for the power to tyrannize is irrelevant. They may in real terms suppress the expression of your right to life but it most certainly doesn’t negate it.

You can always choose to say, “No.”

Notice to this point I haven’t spent one word talking about implementation or politics. Because implementing these ideas isn’t a system to be imposed. That, itself, is a violation of the NAP, the idea of imposing Anarchy is a Collectivist perversion of the process.

We’re seeing this in the hyper-violent rioting of Antifa and BLM wanting to impose their new system that they call anarchy at the point of a gun and an open-ended wrench.

Anarcho-Capitalism isn’t a political system, it is a behavioral model and a filter with which to view the world. It is a philosophy whose name implies an internal vision of the world we want rather than the world we have.

And that filter is an incredibly powerful tool to analyze the world — especially economics and politics as both lie at the intersection of behavioral dissonances within a given population.

(I talked with Jay Fratt, The Conservative Hippie, about Anarchism on his podcast over the weekend.)

It is also a personal goal most people share — the best versions of ourselves possible. Where the differences lie along the political landscape is the extent to which taking on the responsibility of fixing problems which are not ours leads to violence, i.e. the State and before that revolution.

And that leads to the next two-year process, the one of realizing that there is no Utopia where sin is expunged, theft conquered and sociopathy eliminated.

There is only the minimization of these things because people are capable of tremendous generosity and tremendous violence. All of us. At all times.

Sometimes simultaneously.

And the real struggle is coming to terms with that fear. Fear drives Communists to overreach and hubris. AnCaps are driven by the acceptance of their limitations.

Only a culture which reinforces this idea of personal responsibility for one’s actions rather than glorifying thieves as winners will put us back on the right path rather than the wrong one.

Given where we are right now, that’s going to take a heckuva lot more than two years.

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Elon Does Something Libertarian – EPautos – Libertarian Car Talk

Posted by M. C. on October 1, 2020

Vaccines have a very sketchy record for being safe.

Especially those rushed to market, as the vaccine for the Swine Flu was back in the mid ‘70s. A not-small number of previously healthy people became seriously – and permanently – sick after getting needled.

Journalists – there were such creatures, once upon a time – actually reported this.

Today, they report about the cases! the cases! – because their air-time is bought and paid for by the Needlers, who need to maintain the fear in order to get the mandate.

https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2020/09/30/elon-does-something-libertarian/

 
Many libertarians want to like Elon Musk. He just gave them a reason to.

Not because he has decided to stop relying on government to help him sell electric cars.  But because he came out against government forcing people to submit to injections.

Musk isn’t old – or sick – and neither are his kids. Therefore, he reasons, there is no reason to inject himself or them with a vaccine against a sickness that doesn’t pose much if any serious risk to themselves – but which is itself much riskier than the virus it might protect them from getting.

Unless it is a novel vaccine, the pending WuFlu vaccine will at best be partially effective – reports have it that the threshold for FDA approval is 50 percent effective – which means 50 percent not effective – and guaranteed to come with a higher risk of serious side effects than the risk of healthy/not-elderly people getting seriously sick from the WuFlu.

Vaccines have a very sketchy record for being safe.

 

Especially those rushed to market, as the vaccine for the Swine Flu was back in the mid ‘70s. A not-small number of previously healthy people became seriously – and permanently – sick after getting needled.

Journalists – there were such creatures, once upon a time – actually reported this.

Today, they report about the cases! the cases! – because their air-time is bought and paid for by the Needlers, who need to maintain the fear in order to get the mandate.

Which Elon has decided he’ll say no to.

Good for him – and for us.

Needling the healthy and not-elderly is as unnecessary as forcing people who can swim to wear a life-preserver whenever they go near the water. Worse, actually – because the latter would be merely silly while the former (needling the healthy) is objectively dangerous. They are trying to force healthy people to assume a greater risk than the risk of the thing which the needling is supposedly meant to protect them from.

With indemnity!

You know you’re in trouble when the government can force you to submit to a medical procedure that you not only can’t refuse but which you can’t sue for redress in the event you’re permanently damaged by it. It is like being told you must buy a car with a potentially lethal defect and if it maims or kills you, you can’t sue the company that made it.

Elon also publicly excoriated the “lockdowns” as “fascistic” – which is absolutely correct though perhaps not in the sense he meant it.

Fascism isn’t defined by goose-stepping and Jew-baiting. These are incidentals. Mussolini – who coined the term and based it on the Roman fasces, or lictor’s bundles, which were the symbol of state authority – defined it as the partnering of the state and corporate power.

 

Does this sound familiar?

The “lockdowns” – ordered by the government – did not lock down corporations. Both were declared essential (by themselves) and given leave to operate, while individual proprietors and small businesses were not. The government, in other words, advantaged the corporations – the “big box” retailers and grocery stores, etc. – and itself at the disadvantage of the not-corporate, with the obvious intent being not public health but the health of corporate/state power. If health were the true reason, the “lockdowns” would have applied generally.

 

Elon gets this, apparently. At least, partially.

He sees the “de facto house arrest(ing”) as “unethical” but does not see the immorality of partnering with the government to enrich himself via mandates that advantage his corporate power. He does not get that if the government can force people to buy electric cars because of assertions about climatological health then surely – logically – it can force people to take a Needle for the sake of assertions about public health.

Elon’s heart may be in the right place. But it’d be better if his mind were.

He is, at least, on the right track. Perhaps it will occur to him that it would be much more ethical – and far more moral – to build electric cars that sold on the merits, without resort to mandates.

He’s a smart guy – and a very rich guy. He could do it – and by doing it, show the world how it could be done. Offer “ludicrous speed” to those who can afford to pay for the indulgence, as Porsche and Ferrari have always done (without needing subsidies). But offer reasonable cost to those who need it.

And then they just might buy it – without being forced. Without forcing others to subsidize it.

If he were to do that, he’d actually be a libertarian  – instead of one who believes he is.

Be seeing you

 

 

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Donald Trump, Anarchism Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on September 27, 2020

an·ar·chism
/ˈanərˌkizəm/
noun
“Belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.” (Google Online Dictionary)
“ANARCHISM is a political philosophy and movement that rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It calls for the abolition of the state which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.”  (Wikipedia)

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/donald-trump-anarchism-doesnt-mean-what-you-think-it-means/

by

 

Inigo

Donald Trump seems to think we’re all stupid, or he really is stupid. Then again, maybe we can just chalk this all up to neo-McCarthysim. What, you may ask, am I talking about?

The ‘Dear Fuhrer’ keeps using a word as a fear-inducing pejorative, and I don’t think that it means what he thinks that it means. It’s even more ridiculous than something from ‘The Princess Bride.’

There are a lot of people in the world who identify as an ‘anarchist’ of some sort or another. From some of the world’s most respected intellectuals and political minds, to the factory floors, as well as the culture in music, and even among those who practice law or fight wars; you can find a rich history of anarchists in America. If Bubba from Forrest Gump were here, he might say: “There’s market anarchists, christian anarchists, political anarchists, classical anarchists, individualist anarchists, mutualist anarchists, social anarchists, crypto anarchists,” etc, ad nauseam.

If you’re talking about people who may not always self-identify as ‘anarchists,’ but technically are living a given lifestyle consistent with some traditional vein within anarchism, then even pacifists such as the Amish communities can count as a type of ‘anarchist.’ And, in fact, anarchists are typically not bomb-throwers, but garden-growers. Anarchists may sometimes just include people who tend to have an aversion to being organized in authoritarian and violent hierarchies, and choose rather to surround themselves among people who problem-solve with a countenance towards peaceful resolutions which respect everyone’s natural rights and freedoms.

I’ve been happy to self-identify as an ‘anarchist’ of a stripe for many years now because I find the concept of consent and voluntaryism to be the highest of all the ideals in both morality and law.

For the record:
an·ar·chism
/ˈanərˌkizəm/
noun
“Belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.” (Google Online Dictionary)
“ANARCHISM is a political philosophy and movement that rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It calls for the abolition of the state which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.”  (Wikipedia)

(In)famous atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair was a self-identified anarchist, and philosopher Ayn Rand has certainly been a historical favorite among those who enjoy reading in the ‘individualist anarchist’ vein of thought (although I don’t know of her ever technically self-identifying as an anarchist). Emma Goldman is probably one of the most well-known historical anarchist names in American labor movements. Leo Tolstoy left an undeniable legacy of anarchism within America’s most widely practiced faith tradition. There are ‘Austrian economists’ who openly call themselves anarchists currently, and who have even testified before the U.S. Congress on economic matters. Noam Chomsky seems to be a celebrity favorite of many anarchists today, and even a President of the United States can sound much like an anarchist when they say things like, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem,” as Ronald Reagan did.

Words actually have definitions. One might think the president would know the definitions of the terms he speaks publicly and would want to use those words correctly.

Or, maybe there’s another agenda afoot.

If someone has awoken the spirit of Eugene McCarthy, I’ve got a few questions for them.

Kru Adam G. “Brick” House is an Afghanistan war veteran and former licensed minister (UPCI), who has become an outspoken skeptic, peace advocate, and libertarian activist. He currently resides in Leander, Texas, where he is a licensed Muay Thai Kru and owner of Peaceful Warrior Muay Thai Academy.

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Why There’s a Left-Right Divide among Libertarians | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2020

So while thin libertarians are primarily concerned with limiting state power and protecting private property, it is thick libertarians who often seek to infuse their political philosophy with leftist social justice exhortations and calls to fight injustice and racism everywhere, even if the state must eventually be invoked as an intervening power (e.g., Gary Johnson’s “bake the cake” fiasco, or Jo Jorgensen’s recent Tweet). As Rockwell has noted, this has happened before, with what he sees as the degradation of classical liberalism into today’s American “liberalism.”

https://mises.org/wire/why-theres-left-right-divide-among-libertarians?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=a777ee7200-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-a777ee7200-228343965

Amid the sociocultural convulsions and boutique displays of urban anarcho-tyranny that have taken place in America in recent months, there has been renewed discussion within certain circles of the liberty movement about how appropriate it is for libertarians and their intellectual brethren to self-identify as “right-wing” or “left-wing.” While libertarianism itself, which merely requires adherence to the nonaggression principle (NAP) and a desire to minimize or abolish state power, need not be considered a “right-wing” or “left-wing” political philosophy, I contend (from a decidedly right-wing perspective) that individual libertarians are almost certainly on the right or on the left.

All too often, libertarian infighting and internecine squabbles come across as mere navel gazing, with many mainstream libertarians—especially Libertarian Inc.—insisting that they have heroically transcended the old left-right spectrum. (Strangely enough, some libertarians seem to believe that this spectrum primarily pertains to red/blue politics.) Nevertheless, in recent months there have been some important conversations touching upon rights, human nature, the left-right spectrum, and what being a libertarian actually means. These conversations have taken place on podcasts such as Dave Smith’s Part of the Problem, Free Man Beyond the Wall, and The Tom Woods Show, among others.

I believe that these conversations are quite useful, as they might help convince some libertarians to abandon the hackneyed idiocy of defining and summing up the movement as “economically conservative but socially liberal.” It is a cheap cop-out, and individual libertarians should not shy away from accepting a “right-wing” or “left-wing” label; in fact, attempting to do so is an exercise in futility.

Stripped down to its very core, being right-wing entails a defense of natural hierarchies and a recognition that human beings are not all the same. This is consonant with thinkers from Aristotle all the way through the “revolutionary” leaders of the American War for Independence. Thomas Jefferson—admittedly not typically cited as a right-winger—voiced this sentiment in a letter to John Adams:

I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents….The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature, for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society.

Many on the right augment their worldview by noting that there is an objective moral order in the universe—and that it is knowable to us. Imperfect human beings are capable of great evil but also incredible acts of love, mercy, courage, and creativity. The embrace of an objective moral order (i.e., natural law) can be traced back to Catholic scholastics such as Thomas Aquinas and, later on, the Jesuit thinkers of the School of Salamanca (whom Murray Rothbard considered to be proto-Austrians in their approach to economics).

The very understanding that we are born with inherent natural rights is a sine qua non for civil society that is embraced by most anarcho-capitalists, propertarians, “paleolibertarian” minarchists, Ron Paul supporters, and true conservatives on the right. They recognize that the sacrosanct rights to private property and free association do not come from any government or collective entity.

Critics of the Right toss around (what they believe to be) slurs such as “reactionary” and “counterrevolutionary.” Yet, as Jeff Deist and others have argued, when considering the twentieth century’s long and disastrous litany of egalitarian and statist experiments here in the United States (e.g., the institution of the federal income tax, the Federal Reserve, the popular/democratic election of US senators, the New Deal, the Great Society), it is almost impossible for a libertarian NOT to take up a reactionary stance against these statist usurpations. After all, right-wingers contend that not all changes to civil society are desirable and that not all novelty serves the good. There might even be a modicum of wisdom from past generations that should be retained and imparted to future generations.

The Left, on the other hand, is defined by a devotion to egalitarianism, fighting for what they define as “oppressed” groups, and working for what they see as social and economic justice. They typically promote radical social change and keeping the ancien regime in a state of upheaval, believing that “inclusion” and tolerance are more appropriate for a progressive polity than reactionary morality and societal mores.

It is a leftist view that human beings are not born with intrinsic natural or God-given rights; rather, they are granted and assured those rights by the state or the collective. Any differences that might exist between human beings—whether disparities in wealth, innate abilities, health, intelligence, or even biological sex—could be unjustly exploited, so it follows that there might be a much bigger role for the state.

There are a variety of different economic views among left libertarians. Some adhere to anarcho-socialism and mutualism as described by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Others on the left practice countereconomics and agorism as promulgated by Samuel Konkin. All left libertarians are against economic and military imperialism; many of them recognize the labor theory of value, along with the rejection of private ownership of natural resources and the means of production, as fundamental economic principles.

In many instances, the line between left libertarians and right libertarians roughly approximates the delineation between “thick” and “thin” libertarianism. Thin libertarians merely believe in the NAP, the inviolability of private property, and the illegitimacy of state violence. Under subsidiarity principles, any government that is allowed to exist has its relatively small, distinct sphere of influence, and it must not intrude upon local communities—and especially not the family. Thick libertarians usually go much further, though. As Lew Rockwell has argued:

Proponents of a “thick” libertarianism suggest that libertarians are bound to defend something more than the nonaggression principle, and that libertarianism involves commitments beyond just this. One such proponent recently said, “I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force.”

So while thin libertarians are primarily concerned with limiting state power and protecting private property, it is thick libertarians who often seek to infuse their political philosophy with leftist social justice exhortations and calls to fight injustice and racism everywhere, even if the state must eventually be invoked as an intervening power (e.g., Gary Johnson’s “bake the cake” fiasco, or Jo Jorgensen’s recent Tweet). As Rockwell has noted, this has happened before, with what he sees as the degradation of classical liberalism into today’s American “liberalism.”

Certainly, it is possible for left libertarians and those with “thick” tendencies to avoid the siren song of authoritarian power and live according to the NAP, but it could very well represent a constant internal ideological struggle. After all, who would enforce the far left’s desired ban on privately held land and factories? Who would step in and prevent workers from being exploited? What entity will outlaw discrimination, curtail racism, and punish rogue bakers?

The differences in economics, ethics, and worldview among libertarians are plainly evident. When libertarians approach political and societal questions—and when they define the scope of their own libertarianism—they clearly do so from the left or from the right.

Author:

Gregory Gordon

Gregory Gordon (Twitter: @gregorysgordon) earned his Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines. He currently works as a geoscientist in the energy industry, and he is a lecturer in the California State University system. He resides in California with his wife and four children.

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The Constitution Is Not Your Friend | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2020

By strictly limiting the authority of the general government, the founding generation hoped it would never possess enough the power to intrude on our rights.

But there isn’t any provision in the Constitution that actually empowers the federal government to protect our liberty. In fact, the founding generation would have almost certainly considered that too much power for a general government to wield.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/the-constitution-is-not-your-friend/

by

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear about the Constitution is that it was written to “protect our liberty.”

It wasn’t. At least not in a direct sense.

The confusion likely arises from the words of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

It’s true that the Constitution was written during a time when protecting unalienable rights was widely viewed as the primary role of government. But the Constitution is not a philosophical document. It is a legal document that formed a political union and created a central government.

That’s all it does. Asking it to “protect your rights” is really asking too much. That wasn’t why it was written or ratified.

Now the Constitution does reflect the philosophy espoused in the Declaration in that it established a general government of limited, enumerated powers. The decentralized nature of the political system it created was intended to encourage liberty.

By strictly limiting the authority of the general government, the founding generation hoped it would never possess enough the power to intrude on our rights.

But there isn’t any provision in the Constitution that actually empowers the federal government to protect our liberty. In fact, the founding generation would have almost certainly considered that too much power for a general government to wield.

In practice, this means the federal government really doesn’t have any responsibility to “protect your rights” beyond staying within its constitutionally delegated powers. Its obligation isn’t to act in order to protect liberty, it is to not act outside of its legitimate authority.

In the same way, the Bill of Rights was never intended to empower the federal government to protect your rights. As the preamble to the Bill of Rights makes clear, it was intended to add “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” to the Constitution “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.” I have often said it would be better named “The Bill of Restrictions.”

A lot of people want the Constitution to deliver something it never promised. They want the government to serve as a liberty enforcement squad. This is a dangerous proposition. In order to protect your liberty, the government must define your liberty. The best thing the government can do is stay out of the way. The Constitution created a limited federal government for that purpose.

But it’s ultimately up to us to hold it within its limits. Unfortunately, by insisting that the government “protect their rights” they are doing the exact opposite.

This article was originally featured at the Tenth Amendment Center

About Michael Maharrey

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He also runs GodArchy.org, a site exploring the intersection of Christianity and politics. Michael is the author of the book, Constitution Owner’s Manual: The Real Constitution the Politicians Don’t Want You to Know About. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com, like him on Facebook HERE and follow him on Twitter @MMaharrey10th.
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Reboot Government? No, Dismantle It | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on August 1, 2020

But a “new public operating system” will still carry with it the immoral baggage of the old one. It will be funded by taxes stolen from citizens. Its decrees will still be enforced by threats of force by an organization with a monopoly on violence.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/reboot-government-no-dismantle-it/

by

Imagine my intrigue at seeing this subtitle kicking off a recent op-ed in USA Today:

Why do Americans hate Washington? One reason is that it makes us feel powerless.

Americans hating Washington? An article exploring how the state makes its citizens feel powerless?

Sign me up.

It didn’t take long, however, for me to be disappointed.

The article started out promising, by citing “discontent” toward government coming from “both sides.”

“A survey in 2018, for example, found that almost two-thirds of Americans favored ‘very major reform’ of government, almost double from 20 years ago,” the article noted.

“Political leaders sow division” it continued.

Bingo.

The article next itemized some obstacles to reforming some of society’s pressing problems. Police unions stand in the way of firing bad cops. Red tape gummed up the response to the spread of coronavirus.

Disappointingly, however, the article quickly squandered an opportunity to educate readers how a significant reduction in state power and influence would be the best recipe to heal much of society’s division. Instead, it hits readers with this line:

“Americans need to feel that government can make things better.”

This turn for the worse should have come as no surprise, given the author of the piece, Philip K. Howard, is the head of an organization called “Campaign for the Common Good.”

Any group or person claiming to be working toward the “common good” immediately should raise a red flag for libertarians. Of course, we know there is no such thing as the “common good,” but rather an extremely diverse set of individuals with varying wants and differing plans on how to achieve happiness.

So, how do we achieve this common good and overcome citizen’s sense of powerlessness, according to Mr. Howard?

“Let people take responsibility again. Give officials and citizens alike goals and guiding principles, and then let other people hold them accountable,” he recommends.

Who should “give” officials and citizens their goals and guiding principles goes unanswered.

Moreover, Howard states that overcoming powerlessness involves “letting” government officials do their job, including suggestions such as “Let local public health officials respond immediately to the pandemic,” “(L)et designated officials issue infrastructure permits after reasonable review,” and “(L)et teachers maintain order in the classroom.”

Such suggestions may be great for government officials, but doesn’t do much for citizens. Indeed, his suggestions further entrench the state as problem-solver for society, removing opportunities for free citizens to responsibly solve problems through voluntary cooperation.

To his credit, Howard criticizes the government’s overly-complex law books that allow for little discretion on the part of public officials or citizens, and calls for a process of simplifying and stripping them down.

He supports this notion, however, in part because it will “reactivate(s) our link to government.”

The last thing we need is a greater link to the oppressive and divisive leviathan government.

“Governing isn’t this hard,” Howard assures us. “America needs a new public operating system that re-empowers people with responsibility to deal sensibly with the situation before them.”

But a “new public operating system” will still carry with it the immoral baggage of the old one. It will be funded by taxes stolen from citizens. Its decrees will still be enforced by threats of force by an organization with a monopoly on violence.

Howard is focused largely on making government more efficient in carrying out its functions, and uninterested in limiting its size and scope. This won’t reduce the division that he expressed concern over. The state sows division because if forces some to fund others through welfare and wealth redistribution schemes, and it compels people with vastly different preferences to live under the same arbitrary rules having nothing to do with protecting people’s person and property.

Amazingly, Howard concludes with the statement, “The best cure for alienation is ownership.”

But that starts with self-ownership, not reducing red tape to allow government agents to more swiftly enforce their decrees or spend stolen taxpayer money.

Citizens feel powerless because the state is empowered to initiate force against them, with no repercussions. Powerlessness is not felt because government contractors are slowed from starting their tax-funded projects due to red tape.

Mr. Howard largely gets the diagnosis right. More people are getting frustrated with government and recognizing it as a source of division. Disappointingly, he gets the cure wrong.

Instead of a “reboot” of government, society needs a radical rollback of its power.

Bradley Thomas is creator of the website Erasethestate.com and author of the book “Tweeting Liberty: Libertarian Tweets to Smash Statists and Socialists.” He is a libertarian activist who enjoys researching and writing on the freedom philosophy and Austrian economics. Follow him on Twitter: @erasestate.

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Doug Casey on Anarchy and Voluntaryism – International Man

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2020

It’s always been a battle between the individual and the collective. I’m on the side of the individual.

I simply don’t believe anyone has a right to initiate aggression against anyone else. Is that an unreasonable belief?

Let me put it this way. Since government is institutionalized coercion—a very dangerous thing—it should do nothing but protect people in its bailiwick from physical coercion.

https://internationalman.com/articles/doug-casey-on-anarchy-and-voluntaryism/

by Doug Casey

You’re likely aware that I’m a libertarian. But I’m actually more than a libertarian. I don’t believe in the right of the State to exist. The reason is that anything that has a monopoly of force is extremely dangerous. As Mao Tse-tung, lately one of the world’s leading experts on government, said: “The power of the state comes out of a barrel of a gun.”

There are two possible ways for people to relate to each other, either voluntarily or coercively. And the State is pure institutionalized coercion. It’s not just unnecessary, but antithetical, for a civilized society. And that’s increasingly true as technology advances. It was never moral, but at least it was possible, in oxcart days, for bureaucrats to order things around. Today it’s ridiculous.

Everything that needs doing can and will be done by the market, by entrepreneurs who fill the needs of other people for a profit. The State is a dead hand that imposes itself on society. That belief makes me, of course, an anarchist.

People have a misconception about anarchists. That they’re these violent people, running around in black capes with little round bombs. This is nonsense. Of course there are violent anarchists. There are violent dentists. There are violent Christians. Violence, however, has nothing to do with anarchism. Anarchism is simply a belief that a ruler isn’t necessary, that society organizes itself, that individuals own themselves, and the State is actually counterproductive.

It’s always been a battle between the individual and the collective. I’m on the side of the individual.

I simply don’t believe anyone has a right to initiate aggression against anyone else. Is that an unreasonable belief?

Let me put it this way. Since government is institutionalized coercion—a very dangerous thing—it should do nothing but protect people in its bailiwick from physical coercion.

What does that imply? It implies a police force to protect you from coercion within its boundaries, an army to protect you from coercion from outsiders, and a court system to allow you to adjudicate disputes without resorting to coercion.

I could live happily with a government that did just those things. Unfortunately the US Government is only marginally competent in providing services in those three areas. Instead, it tries to do everything else.

The argument can be made that the largest criminal entity today is not some Colombian cocaine gang, it’s the US Government. And they’re far more dangerous. They have a legal monopoly to do anything they want with you. Don’t conflate the government with America—it’s a separate entity, with its own interests, as distinct as General Motors or the Mafia. I’d rather deal with the Mafia than I would with any agency of the US Government.

Even under the worst circumstances, even if the Mafia controlled the United States, I can’t believe Tony Soprano or Al Capone would try to steal 40% of people’s income from them every year. They couldn’t get away with it. But—perhaps because we’re said to be a democracy—the US Government is able to masquerade as “We the People.” That’s an anachronism, at best. The US has mutated into a domestic multicultural empire.

The average person has been propagandized into believing that it’s patriotic to do as he’s told. “We have to obey libraries of regulations, and I’m happy to pay my taxes. It’s the price we pay for civilization.” No, that’s just the opposite of the fact. Those things are a sign that civilization is degrading, that the society is becoming less individually responsible, and has to be held together by force.

It’s all about control. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The type of people that gravitate to government like to control other people. Contrary to what we’re told to think, that’s why you get the worst people—not the best—who want to get into government.

What about voting? Can that change and improve things? Unlikely. I can give you five reasons why you should not vote in an election (see this article). See if you agree.

Hark back to the ’60s when they said, “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?” But let’s take it further: Suppose they gave a tax and nobody paid? Suppose they gave an election and nobody voted? What that would do is delegitimize government.

I applaud the fact that only half of Americans vote. If that number dropped to 25%, 10%, then 0%, perhaps everybody would look around and say, “Wait a minute, none of us believe in this evil charade. I don’t like Tweedledee from the left wing of the Demopublican Party any more than I like Tweedledum from its right wing…”

Remember you don’t get the best and the brightest going into government. There are two kinds of people. You’ve got people that like to control physical reality—things. And people that like to control other people. That second group, those who like to lord it over their fellows, are drawn to government and politics.

Some might ask: “Aren’t you loyal to America?” and “How can you say these terrible things?” My response is, “Of course I’m loyal to America, but America is an idea, it’s not a place. At least not any longer…”

America was once unique among the world’s countries. Unfortunately that’s no longer the case. The idea is still unique, but the country no longer is.

I’ll go further than that. It’s said that you’re supposed to be loyal to your fellow Americans. Well, here’s a revelation. I have less in common with my average fellow American than I do with friends of mine in the Congo, or Argentina, or China.

The reason is that I share values with my friends; we look at the world the same way, have the same worldview. But what do I have in common with my fellow Americans who live in the trailer parks, barrios, and ghettos? Or even Hollywood, Washington, and Manhattan? Everyone has to be judged as an individual, but probably very little besides residing in the same political jurisdiction. Most of them—about 50% of the US—are welfare recipients, and therefore an active threat. So I have more personal loyalty to the guys in the Congo than I do to most of my fellow Americans. The fact we carry US passports is simply an accident of birth.

Those who find that thought offensive likely suffer from a psychological aberration called “nationalism”; in serious cases it may become “jingoism.” The authorities and the general public prefer to call it “patriotism.” It’s understandable, though. Everyone, including the North Koreans, tends to identify with the place they were born. But these things should be fairly low on any list of virtues.

Nationalism is the belief that my country is the best country in the world just because I happen to have been born there. It’s most virulent during wars and elections. And it’s very scary. It’s like watching a bunch of chimpanzees hooting and panting at another tribe of chimpanzees across the watering hole. I have no interest in being a part of the charade—although that’s dangerous.

And getting more dangerous as the State grows more powerful. The growth of the State is actually destroying society. Over the last 100 years the State has grown at an exponential rate, and it’s the enemy of the individual. I see no reason why this trend, which has been in motion and accelerating for so long, is going to stop. And certainly no reason why it’s going to reverse.

It’s like a giant snowball that’s been rolling downhill from the top of the mountain. It could have been stopped early in its descent, but now the thing is a behemoth. If you stand in its way you’ll get crushed. It will stop only when it smashes the village at the bottom of the valley.

This makes me quite pessimistic about the future of freedom in the US. As I said, it’s been in a downtrend for many decades. But the events of September 11, 2001, turbocharged the acceleration of the loss of liberty in the US. At some point either foreign or domestic enemies will cause another 9/11, either real or imagined. It’s predictable; that’s what sociopaths do.

When there is another 9/11—and we will have another one—they’re going to lock down this country like one of their numerous new prisons.

It’s going to become very unpleasant in the US at some point soon. It seems to me the inevitable is becoming imminent.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately there’s little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of this trend in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible.

That’s precisely why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey just released an urgent new video that explains what could come next and what you can do about it. Click here to watch it now.

 

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Some Conservatives Want Americans to Abandon Classical Liberalism. Don’t Listen to Them. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 23, 2020

But Deneen’s new attack on libertarians helpfully serves as yet another example of some conservatives’ deeply misguided enthusiasm for attacking classical liberals and even attempting to condemn them as “un-American.” But just as Carlson and Bannon have employed bad economics to attack classical liberals in the past, Deneen now indulges in bad history.

Let’s consider some evidence…

https://mises.org/wire/some-conservatives-want-americans-abandon-classical-liberalism-dont-listen-them?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=97d1b61b70-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-97d1b61b70-228343965

Donald Trump’s economic populism, and his break with the established postwar conservative movement, has created an opening for new types of conservatism. Among these is the antimarket wing of the movement characterized by a renewed enthusiasm for trade controls, more spending on welfare programs, and more government regulation in the everyday lives of ordinary Americans.

The economic agenda has been voiced perhaps most enthusiastically by pundit Tucker Carlson and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Both have attacked what they apparently see as “excessive” freedom. This freedom—especially when exercised in the marketplace—has led, they believe, to the decline of the middle class for consumers and businesses which Bannon and Carlson blame for creating economic hardship in the United States. As a “solution” both have pushed for the state to seize and control even more of the economy than it already has.

The fact that the United States has only become consistently less free, both in terms of markets and in everything else, is strenuously ignored. These attacks on markets are, frankly, based on poor economics and a poor understanding of economic history, as I’ve noted here and here.

Not surprisingly, this way of thinking has led to new attacks on those who most support freedom in the marketplace (and everywhere else): classical liberals, also known as libertarians.

[RELATED: “‘Libertarian’ Is Just Another Word for (Classical) Liberal” by Ryan McMaken]

Carlson has specifically denounced libertarians for their free market views, as has Bannon. Both have even singled out “Austrian economists” as especially worthy of denunciation. Attacks on the laissez-faire liberals have proliferated, including unprovoked attacks from conservatives in First Things, the American Conservative, and The Spectator.

Is Classical Liberalism Un-American?

But perhaps the most aggressive attack on classical liberalism comes from Patrick Deneen, who has attempted to claim that classical liberalism has no place in American history at all.

In a new column this week, Deneen attacks libertarians and the entire liberal tradition in general. Not content with merely criticizing the liberals/libertarians as too extreme, as Bannon and Carlson do, Deneen seeks to recast classical liberalism altogether as a pernicious, foreign, and dangerous ideology. According to Deneen, this ideology—the ideology of Thomas Jefferson, Lord Acton, and Frederic Bastiat, among many other defenders of freedom and natural rights—has nothing at all to do with “the American tradition.”

This general thesis of Deneen goes well beyond his article this week, and his odd and ahistorical view of classical liberalism has already been explained here at mises.org by both David Gordon and Allen Mendenhall. But Deneen’s new attack on libertarians helpfully serves as yet another example of some conservatives’ deeply misguided enthusiasm for attacking classical liberals and even attempting to condemn them as “un-American.” But just as Carlson and Bannon have employed bad economics to attack classical liberals in the past, Deneen now indulges in bad history.

Let’s consider some evidence.

Yes, the American Revolutionaries Were Classical Liberals

Deneen’s first mistake in this week’s column is claiming that liberalism was not a central factor in the American Revolution. This rather unbelievable claim is derived from Deneen’s belief that liberalism of all types “requires liberation from all forms of associations and relationships, from family to church, from schools to village and community.”

As Mendenhall notes, this is not at all a sound definition of classical liberalism. But from this rather questionable premise, Deneen then concludes that the only real liberals in America at the time were the few disciples of John Locke (i.e., the Jeffersonians and their allies). After all, in Deneen’s view, it was only the Lockeans who embraced the atheism, hedonism, and the mania for the accumulation of material possessions that Deneen thinks characterize the classical liberals. Thus, those Americans who still embraced institutions like church and family were not liberals at all. Deneen thus contrasts “a small number of Lockeans” during the Revolution to the “larger population of Christians” to illustrate that the classical liberals were at odds with the main nonliberal part of the population.

The real founding ideology of America, we are told, was a Christian “common good conservatism” which valued community above individual conscience and above individual rights. This claim is central to Deneen’s basic thesis here, which is that any American revolutionary who was a Christian was necessarily not a liberal.

But the Lockean view and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. As David Gordon points out, there is significant evidence that Locke “defended divine and natural law and argued for the existence of God.” Moreover, in his history of economic thought, Rothbard shows that Locke, for all his deviations, was well within the natural law tradition handed down from medieval Christian Europe. It was easy for Americans to adopt the basic classical liberal and Lockean framework without abandoning Christianity. Indeed, Deneen’s idea that anyone embracing Locke’s ideas of “life, liberty, and property” must be some sort of avaricious atheist strains the bounds of plausibility. Yet Deneen treats this idea as if it were unassailable.

Moreover, a look at the actual historical record shows widespread adoption of liberal ideals during the Revolution. As Rothbard illustrates in the fourth volume of Conceived in Liberty, liberal ideals spread rapidly during the period, and in quite a radical way. Opposition to slavery spread, and indentured servitude declined precipitously. Old feudal laws were overturned. The system of land sales and distribution was democratized. Religious freedom was far more widely embraced. Rothbard notes that the Revolution was a civil war conducted by “fanatics” and zealots who rejected “the siren call of compromise.”

Rothbard maintains that these legal, social, and military upheavals were animated by liberalism/libertarianism. After all, if slavery, indentured servitude, and feudal land grants were all perfectly acceptable to “the common good” by Americans conservative Christian one minute, how did these things become unacceptable just a few years later? The answer lies in the spread of liberalism among Americans during the revolutionary period. The very idea of “the common good” changed as the public embraced liberalism.

State-Sponsored Churches Declined Because America Embraced Classical Liberalism

Deneen also claims that the post-Revolutionary period was little affected by liberalism. Specifically, he asserts that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights was designed not to increase religious freedom, but to increase the power of the established churches in the states:

The Bill of Rights was in fact proposed and ratified in order not merely to forbid the government from establishing a religion, butprevent the federal government from interfering in the existing State establishments. (emphasis in original)

In Deneen’s view, the First Amendment’s “original intention” was to help the state governments in “protecting these establishments.” He insists that the American revolutionaries understood that the state governments must have state-supported churches or society would descend into “war of all against all.”

Once again, the historical record is not on Deneen’s side.

While there is not doubt that some revolutionaries were in favor in maintaining state-favored established churches, that fact is that most Americans—animated by individualistic classical liberal ideals—saw religion more as a matter of personal choice and conscience. This was already in play by the late eighteenth century, when, as Rothbard notes, “the previously hysterical-anti-Catholicism that had permeated the colonies” was abandoned in favor of toleration. During the Revolution no fewer than eight states moved to allow Roman Catholics to hold public office. These were hardly the actions of populations clinging to the idea of empowering the local state-supported churches.

At the same time, the established churches, those churches Deneen claims were so dear to Americans at the time of the Bill of Rights, went into steep decline and had disappeared by the 1830s. State governments ceased to support their established churches, and, as historian Ann Douglas has described it, “between the Revolution and the Civil War, the [formerly established] sects which were disestablished lost ground in every sense while the largest ‘dissenting’ groups, which had never received state support, flourished.”

That is, the old established churches—the Congregational and Presbyterian churches, for example—were abandoned in droves by Americans who embraced the idea that religious faith was a matter of individual choice. In Deneen’s mind, this seemingly illustrates a disgraceful march toward chaos. But most Americans were apparently unconcerned. Americans didn’t abandon Christianity, of course. Their newfound liberalism required no such thing. But Americans did embrace a religious order based on purely voluntary, private institutions far from the old mindset of those who supported the established churches of old.

The American Political Tradition Is Liberal and Libertarian

These are just two examples of Deneen’s rewriting of history, but they serve to show how he appears to have become convinced that classical liberalism is incompatible with the sorts of institutions that any social conservative would value. Consequently, he seeks to read classical liberalism out of American history almost in its entirety.

In actual practice, however, classical liberalism has never been a danger to the Christian civilization that Deneen defends. On the contrary, as Mendenhall concludes:

The classical liberalism or libertarianism to which Christian individualists adhere promotes peace, cooperation, coordination, collaboration, community, stewardship, ingenuity, prosperity, dignity, knowledge, understanding, humility, virtuousness, creativity, justice, ingenuity, and more, taking as its starting point the dignity of every human person before both God and humanity. This individualism prospers in fundamentally conservative cultures and does not square with Deneen’s caricature of a caricature of a caricature of “liberal” individualism.

Indeed, liberalism has historically been a key component in providing the freedom necessary to allow institutions of civil society to flourish. A strong private sector protects churches and communities from the power of the state. A robust economy allows families to establish independence without a reliance on state largesse or on a small number of state-favored monopolistic firms. Without these freedoms, all of civil society becomes a hostage to the ruling junta or regime. That sort of dependence may seem fine so long as those who favor our social views are in power. But what happens when our friends are no longer in charge?

Today, we see precisely what happens. After decades of empowering the state with an ever longer list of prerogatives and prohibitions, those who control the state can now easily turn on those institutions that are so central to the kind of society Deneen would like to see. The solution lies in scaling back the power of the state and insisting that large sectors of civil society are simply off limits from the state’s coercive power. The solution lies in allowing free association, free contracting, freedom in religious practices, and freedom to use our property as we like.

Throwing classical liberalism under the bus won’t help.

 

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Now the Savages Are Trying To Take Down One of Our Own – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 23, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/thomas-woods/now-the-savages-are-trying-to-take-down-one-of-our-own/

By

From the Tom Woods Letter:

How about this:

By far the most prolific living libertarian is Walter Block, who has written countless books and close to 600 scholarly articles — an accomplishment I am uncertain if any academic in any discipline could match today, or ever.

Walter has also co-authored over 100 scholarly articles with students. That’s unheard of. What an extraordinary advantage that gives Walter’s students over their peers — how many students of other professors can say they published an article in an academic journal while they were undergraduates?

Loyola University, New Orleans, where Walter teaches, must be beaming with pride, right?

Well, a group of students are currently circulating a petition to get Walter fired on the grounds that — you’ll never guess — he is a “racist” and a “sexist.”

(In response, a counter-petition has been started, demanding that Walter be given a raise.)

This is because, like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, Walter Block does not believe that “discrimination” is the universal, no-analysis-necessary explanation for the various disparities between blacks and whites, or men and women. And of course he is quite correct to take that position, since the “discrimination” view is ridiculous on its face to anyone familiar with the data. (Sowell’s overlooked book Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? dismantles the “discrimination” school.)

They are also unhappy about what they mistakenly believe Walter told the New York Times about slavery. They think he said slavery “wasn’t so bad.” What he actually said was: the problem with slavery was its coercive nature; it doesn’t matter what the slaves’ caloric intake or per-capita living space was if they were coerced into being there.

Simple enough for a normal person to grasp, which means the New York Times pretended to misunderstand Walter, or at least make his views seem suspect and opaque.

So ridiculous was the Times‘ portrayal, in fact, that Walter sued them for libel. The Times settled out of court, so although we can’t know the terms of the settlement, it’s rather curious that columns by Walter — of all people — suddenly began appearing in its pages.

I’m taking that as being as close to an admission of guilt as most people are likely to get from the Times.

Let’s add to all this that Walter has repeatedly made clear that he believes that the descendants of slaves do have a right to reparations, though not indiscriminately from all Americans (he explained his position in an interview with me).

It seems virtually certain that the savages are unaware of this, particularly since knowing it would require them to read scholarly journals, which we may legitimately doubt they tend to do.

In light of all this, I think you’ll take mischievous delight in the letter I wrote to Loyola’s president in 2014, when the initial attack on Walter occurred:

Dear Dr. Wildes:

No doubt you have received quite a bit of correspondence by now about Walter Block. I won’t rehash the main points. You are familiar with them already.

I will say that I find it impossible to believe that you, an intelligent man, believe your own interpretation of Walter’s remarks to the New York Times. You note that Walter’s comment about slavery seems to run counter to libertarian principles. You don’t say! Might that be an indication that the Times, which despises what Walter stands for, has distorted his views?

A university president ought to support his faculty in a case like this, in which he knows full well that a professor has been grotesquely mischaracterized. If this were an accurate rendering of Walter’s views, why was he considering a libel suit?

Had Walter been a left-wing professor accused of Stalinism, would you have been so quick to denounce him? The question answers itself.

This is why it is impossible to believe that any of this has to do with Walter’s remarks. You are not a fool. You know Walter, and you know where he stands. He has never kept his views a secret. You owed him better, and you failed him.

Now it’s true, you did communicate to the university community that your views are the conventional and respectable ones, and that you are not to be confused with Walter Block. We got that.

Some of your faculty, whom you should have rebuked rather than implicitly congratulated, treated Walter with a similar lack of charity.

Since the substance of your (and their) claims have been dealt with elsewhere, let me raise some relevant considerations:

(1) How many professors at Loyola University can say students have enrolled for the express purpose of studying with them?

(2) How many professors at Loyola University can say they have co-authored scholarly articles with their students – not once or twice, but dozens of times?

(3) How many professors at Loyola University have a big enough audience that it would even matter if they urged students to attend Loyola, as Walter constantly does?

(4) How many professors at Loyola University have over 400 peer-reviewed articles?

(5) How many professors at Loyola University would anyone anywhere in the country lift a single finger for?

(6) Oh, and how many professors at Loyola University, who preposterously accused Walter of “sexism” for denying that “discrimination” could explain the male-female wage gap, dared to face Walter in open debate? (Their decision not to try to debate Walter is a fleeting sign of intelligence among them.)

Yes, yes, I got the message: your faculty is against slavery. What courage they must have had to summon in 2014 to unbosom to the world their opposition to slavery!

But I wonder: would people who ostentatiously announce their opposition to slavery in 2014 have had the courage to oppose it when it counted – say, in 1850? I have my doubts that people so desperate to assure the world of their conventional opinions and how appalled and offended they are by heretics, would have been the sort of people to buck conventional opinion at a time when two percent of the American electorate supported an abolitionist political party.

What I know for a fact is that Walter Block would have opposed it, lock, stock, and barrel.

That you simply repeated the New York Times’ characterization of Walter Block, without even conceding, as the Times did, that Walter believed slavery was wrong because it was involuntary – so your behavior was worse than that of the Times, which is no mean feat – is bewildering and appalling in a university president, or indeed in a human being.

Long after every name on that list of Walter’s faculty critics is gone and forgotten, the work of Walter Block will continue to educate new generations in the principles of liberty. No one will recall the pygmies who attacked him out of spite or envy.

Sincerely,
Thomas E. Woods, Jr., PhD

 

 

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