via Everything Wrong With The Libertarian Movement, Part 1 on United Liberty by Jeremy Kolassa
Jeremy criticizes the Mises Institute (as I sometimes do as well) for its supposedly anti-collective rhetoric:
a) Unable to accept intellectual property rights
b) Unable to accept that anarcho-capitalism does not work in the real world
c) A penchant for attracting racists, homophobes, and Neo-Confederates
d) A trend towards social conformity and some variant of social conservatism
e) Rejection of science (only in some limited cases)
f) Being too quick to support interventionism (only in some limited cases)
One at a time:
a) Intellectual property rights are separate from trademarks and they have a strong argument that patent trolling is against the consumer interest that is pretty hard to argue with.
b) Anarcho capitalism is a research program and it contributed to political thought by showwing that the corporeal state is unnecessary. Hoppe’s private government would absolutely work in the real world – it did for the better part of a thousand years. Monarchies have a better incentive than do republics. It’s simply true.
c) Yes, it’s a fringe movement that attracts fringe characters. But yes, the neo-confederates are right. And no they’re nationalists not racists.
e) Rejection of science? I don’t see that. So I can’t comment on it.
f) Too quick to support intervention? I don’t see that either. So I don’t know where tohose points are comign from.
The legitimate point is d) because libertarians are social conservatives. But you don’t know WHY they are, or even if their idea is good or bad. And that’s the rub. Because the underlying difference between conservatives and progressives is whether we should constrain the fertility of the lower classes or enable it. Despite the fact that it’s impolitic to address the issue openly.
He goes on to say:
The vast majority of these [anti-social] positions come back to the Mises Institute (except for the last one, which I find scattered among libertarians of nearly all stripes.) Now, don’t get me wrong, the Mises Institute has a lot of good resources and proposals, and they are certainly not the only resovoir of nuttery within the movement, but they have seemed to attract a disproportionate number of “fringe” types which tarnish libertarianism’s image and confuses the public.
I mean, racists? In the libertarian movement? They don’t exactly go like bread and butter—yet this was exactly the strategy that Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell pursued in the late 80s and early 90s, as David Weigel and Julian Sanchez of reason and Steve Horwitz of Bleeding Heart Libertarians have pointed out.
There is also the social conservatism among many of this crowd that I just do not understand, and which I don’t think truly belongs in this movement. Case in point: David Gordon’s review of Nick Gillespie’s and Matt Welch’s Declaration of Independents over at LewRockwell.com, which is within the LvMI Rothbardian sphere. It is practically dripping with condescension at cultural liberalism and the wide expanse of options and freedom we have in today’s society, from gender to sexual orientation to religion to clothing choices to what-have-you. Yes, Gordon does couch his criticism with “Well, this is just not what libertarianism is about, that’s all,”
Well I’d have to agree that MI attracts malcontents. On the other hand, the increase in libertarian affinity, particularly in technology, over the past decade in particular, is almost entirely the result of the MI work at prosthelytizing . Much like a church, they do not turn away anyone who will carry the gospel of anti-statism. They view the whackos as a tolerable cost. So Lew’s method is working. It’s pragmatic. It has funding. and the BHL’s do not.
The problem for MI is that the intellectual base has moved away from the organization. And they’re not attracting new theorists — precisely because they are adamantly Rothbardian and will not accomodate less extreme opinions (like myself, like you.). Even Hoppe has started his own group ‘to be even more radical’. So I suspect that the MI will have a ‘reformation’ at some point in order to attract intellectual talent, or it will stagnate as a Rothbardian education group. I have been hoping that it would happen before Lew left, but now I don’t think so. And the current admin that’s set up to follow him doesn’t look intellectually capable enough to do other than maintain the Rothbardian memoirs.
As for racism —I don’t think is relevant. And I think you do us all an injustice by using the pejorative term. Nationalism is what people desire. It’s not that they are against anyone. it’s that they’re in favor of a certain set of norms.. The german wing is nationalist. The anglo wing is nationalist. The jewish wing is anti-statist but as a diasporic people, that’s the equivalent of being nationalist. These groups are nationalist in that they want to preserve their identities, and those identities are in conflict with the redistributive state, when that redistribution goes to those who would undermine their ‘sacred’ norms.
These nationalist groups have social visions that are dependent upon norms that are high costs to the individuals that bear them. The germanic europeans (the germans, anglos, and anglo-americans) still sentimentally attach themselves to the manorial social system and its extensions in corporate commerce, and the corporate state — all of which are voluntary, meritocratic, and suppress the fertility of the underclass as a means of self-defense. They just fail to understand their own systems because it is traditionally propagated by oral tradition and myth rather than embodied in tome or fully articulated as a rational philosophy. And that network of aristocratic, manorial, corporate values, unarticulated or not, is incompatible with the compromise multicultural redistributive state.
Religion was the only language available to their ancestors for expressing their ideals. So the germanicized christianity of the puritans was the tool they used for propagating their social system. But with the body of arguments used for the usurpation of the landed aristocracy by the merchant class, and the defeat of the church by darwin, the language and reasoning used by the manorial corporate culture lacked a rational form of articulation that could be used to promote their ideas.
The west is different from the rest because of the manorial system. The manorial system is the result of the need of individual warriors to fund and equip their own retinues.
But it will be very hard to change the sentiments of the descendants north of the Hajnal Line to transfer hard earned gains to the undisciplined — they instinctually view it as anti-social. This conflict is impossible to resolve. There is no compromise.
The libertarian movement is a collection of extreme groups that rally against the status quo. And for good reasons, I’m not sure that we will ever encounter a post-tribal, post-nationalist state except under american military hegemony or its Roman equivalent. Empires are tribe-blind but ideologically myopic. The USA is an empire. And it cannot afford its overextension, so it cannot endure in this capacity indefinitely.
The BHL movement (which is closer to my sentiments even if institutionally I think Hoppe has the solution to bureaucracy) is an immature but necessary occupant of the emerging void. The question is whether that void would exist without the Rothbardians — and I’m not sure. The soft libertarians from Hayek forward failed — including Popper and Parsons. The conservatives have failed to produce anything more than the sentimental Kirk. The BHL’s are a sentimental group as well without a rational program. (Something I’d like to help them fix. If you see how poorly they can even articulate their own taxonomy you’ll see their intellectual poverty on this problem.) But if the BHL movement is just a more conservative and slow moving means of achieving socialism — which is what it looks like to me so far — then it too will fail.
I’ve covered too many concepts in this short space. And if you want to promote the BHL’s I’m with you on that. But you should look at libertarianism as a set of niche ideologies each of which is conducting a research program in order to provide an alternative to the totalitarian state that’s the natural consequence of proletarian democracy. And that we need as many of these research programs as possible because the status quo that trends toward the european nanny state is looking like a bad bet. And domestically, it’s looking like a means of long term unresolvable conflict.