Against “Second Wave Libertarianism”
I am exhausted.
Not from writing, editing video, or doing radio. Not from relentless attacks on me and my website. Not from watching Republicans and Democrats argue over how big the next war should be. It’s not the work I do, the resistance I meet in doing it, or the stamina of my enemy that exhausts me. What saps my energy more than any hangover or day at the gym could ever hope to do, what makes me consider going back to New York, and toiling with computers in the offices of financial industry fat cats who could give a fuck if I live or die, is the all too real prospect that I might be going through all of this effort for nothing.
I long ago gave up on most of the human race. That I could say to them “Hey, maybe a global system of coercion to fund wars isn’t the greatest of ideas” and they would dismiss me as some kind of lunatic for saying so, leaves me, shall we say, with little interest in their well being. I moved to New Hampshire so I could be surrounded by people who understood the insanity of that system, and build a free society with them. Unfortunately, with each day that passes I lose ever more hope not only for humanity at large, but also for the libertarian movement I once hoped might save some portion of our species.
What makes me lose hope for the future of the libertarian movement is not PRISM, ISIS, or the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. It’s not my own personal or political struggles. It’s not even that Rand Paul promotes an interventionist foreign policy, and still gets taken seriously by “libertarian thinkers”.
It’s the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington DC.
Perhaps not so much the conference itself, but what it represents.
The End of Libertarians
Kevin Carson published an appropriately titled piece about the conference at the Center for a Stateless Society, a blog founded by confessed child rapist Brad Spangler. Carson’s piece is titled “The End of Libertarians”. While he spends the rest of the diatribe desperately struggling to reconcile his anticapitalism with libertarianism, The End Of Libertarians is exactly what C4SS, Students for Liberty, and the greater radical leftist saboteur movement seeks. They want our demise, and nothing short of it.
Carson says of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, The Mises Institute, Cato, and Reason Magazine;
The version of libertarianism preached by these people is dying, because it’s the ideology of a dying (and rightfully so) demographic. Whether we let them take the entire movement down with them, or whether we make ourselves relevant to a larger world of people outside a tiny privileged group, is up to us.
Oh, that “rightfully” dying demographic he mentions, it’s white men. Keep that in mind when these animals preach to us about racism and sexism. I could just imagine the outrage from these hypocrites if somebody said “black women are on the decline, and I’m just fucking ecstatic”.
Need I mention that far from dying, the libertarian movement got its biggest influx to date, from the Ron Paul presidential campaign?
But Carson isn’t trying to rescue the libertarian movement. He’s an opponent of it, as is obvious from his other writings like “The Communism of Everyday Life” and “Venture Communism“. He views libertarianism as we know it as a “capitalist monopoly” on opposition to the State. He doesn’t want to save libertarianism from “rightfully dying” white men, he wants to feed communist propaganda to young people, and tell them it is freedom.
Like we haven’t seen this before?
That’s exactly what “Second Wave” libertarianism is all about, as Cory Massimino put it in his “Open Letter to Ron Paul“. They don’t want to “grow” or “improve” this movement, as they claim. If they wanted to grow the actual libertarian movement, they wouldn’t be branding its leaders as racists and homophobes. To me this seems almost too obvious to have to state. Worst. Marketing. Ever.
That is a patently dishonest political tactic that the left uses against their enemies, not to improve their friends. They want to end libertarians. They see us as their enemy, and they will lie, and cheat, at a minimum, to destroy us.
We may have rejected the State, but we must not forget that this is politics nonetheless. The libertarian movement is a growing demographic which various interest groups will thus increasingly attempt to co-opt. Word games, deception, and slander, are all weapons we should rightly expect our enemies to wield against us, no differently than the Republican party did in the 2012 primary.
The “Open Letter to Ron Paul”
The prevalence of an age gap in the libertarian movement has been underscored by the ideas discussed in conferences such as the Mises Circle and put forth by the Mises Institute itself. “Millennial” or “Second-wave” libertarianism is not going away and there seems to be irreconcilable differences between these new libertarians and the old guard, which includes figures such as Lew Rockwell, Hans Herman-Hoppe, Walter Block, Gary North, and yourself. In this letter, we would like to highlight the downright absurdity promoted by this obsolete style of thinking, as delineated in the racist, homophobic, and sexist undertones present in these thinkers’ writings.
So, according to these folks, Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, and the Mises institute, are obsolete. Throw them in the scrap heap with the Commodore 64, and the heavy television. We need something new, and shiny. Something that appeals to children fresh out of public schools, and entrenched in liberal academia with no study of economics. Something, that is, shall we say, progressive…
“Goodbye! Thanks for your service! We know you’ve done more to promote libertarian ideals than we could ever hope to accomplish, but we are going to dismiss you as racists now, and get back to promoting communism”
I’m not going to spend a great deal of time trying to convince anyone that the greatest libertarian thinkers in modern history aren’t racists. They’re not, and anybody with any interest in the objective reality of the matter knows that already. There, I did it.
Instead I’ll say this. I don’t fucking care if they are, and neither should anybody else.
I have no more interest in Walter Block’s thoughts on homosexuality than I have in his own sex life. What goes on in his mind, and his bedroom, are his business.
I don’t care if Ron Paul wrote those newsletters. Whoever wrote them, 40 fucking years ago, felt a certain way at a particular time, and decided to say how he felt instead of parading some false narrative around, baiting populist sentiment like the leftists who obsess over these things.
I don’t care if Lew Rockwell compared statism to chattel slavery. No, scratch that. I’m fucking glad he did because that’s exactly what statism is. If you find it offensive, good. So do I. Now go do something about it instead of hurling baseless allegations at respectable people.
The fact that these liberal propagandists have to dig through decades of work to take such tiny and insignificant snippets out of context, should tell us two things.
- They are working entirely too hard to dig up dirt on these individuals for political purposes.
- There is extraordinarily little dirt on these individuals
The “Left Market Anarchist” Deviation from Liberty
If you talk to the writers at C4SS and other outlets like them, you’ll find yourself agreeing with them more often than not, that’s why so many of their writings get published in otherwise respectable libertarian publications. Anti-war, anti-tax, non-initiation of force, pretty soon you’re thinking to yourself “Hey, you’re just like me, let’s be friends”. Beneath that though, they have a bizarre egalitarian agenda, based on radically flawed economic analysis, and a purposeful detachment from reality. They throw their race and sex propaganda around for the same reason Democrats do, to gain political power by appealing to populist sentiment, and tearing down their political rivals with factless hysteria.
First to the detachment from reality. I’m not hurling this as an insult, it’s literally a central tenet of their philosophy. When they inevitably say otherwise, it’s only further evidence of said detachment. “There is no truth” to these people. The image to the left here, is a sign that an attendee is actually wearing at the ISFLC. “If you meet the Rothbard on the road, Kill him”. It’s a variation on a Buddhist quote.
According to Will Smith at Liberty.me, this is just a cute way of saying we shouldn’t be making idols of people. He then goes on a social justice warrior rant about what a terrible homophobic racist Ron Paul is.
According to DailyBuddhism.com it actually comes from an old koan attributed to Zen Master Linji, (the founder of the Rinzai sect). “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”
They explain the idea behind it as;
Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.
The meaning behind this sign is very simple. Libertarianism has no meaning. Reality is an impermanent illusion. If you think you have found the true definition of libertarianism, kill it, and make something else up. Spiral down a bottomless pit of meaningless ideas, and accomplish nothing.
Once one accepts that reality is an impermanent illusion, truth is a meaningless concept. All one needs is the confirmation bias from the crowd, and they have won the debate.
With it established that these people outright reject the concept of an objective reality, we can address the question of economics. I beg of you, please read my article “Left Anarchism is Impossible” which itself was a response to Anna Morganstern’s piece at C4SS titled “Anarcho-Capitalism Is Impossible“. In my piece, I point out the flaws in their “Markets Not Capitalism” assault on all things rational.
“Left Anarchism is Impossible” is in excess of 4,900 words, so I won’t bother going through it all here, but I’ll give you a brief example.
Morganstern says at C4SS that capitalism in the absence of the State is impossible, because the state is facilitating, not preventing, the accumulation of capital. This absurd claim is based in part on the notion that absentee ownership of property would be too expensive to maintain without State protection services subsidized by “wage slavery”. The more property you have, the more it costs to protect it.
I pointed out that this is obviously nonsense because taxes work in an even more discouraging fashion, just as Karl Marx intended them to. The United States, and most countries throughout the world have a progressive income tax. The more you make, the more you pay, not only in amount, but in percentage. The higher the value of your real estate, the more you pay in property taxes.
She says “Furthermore, without a state-protected banking/financial system, accumulating endless high profits is well nigh impossible.” Do you even Bitcoin, bro?
Massimino writes at C4SS that “The state artificially ratchets up the cost of capital through inflationary monetary policy” as if interest rates aren’t being set artificially at record shattering lows by the Federal Reserve, or the financial crisis of 2008 and ensuing recession had nothing to do with the Federal Government compelling banks to lend to people we all knew couldn’t afford to pay it back.
Reading this nonsense gives me a headache and makes my gun look appetizing, so I’m going to stop here. But again, please read “Left Anarchism is Impossible” if you want to understand the economic fantasy world these people are living in. As they view it, wealth and the State are one. They hate the rich as much as we hate the State, but it doesn’t end at anti-capitalism.
Death to Privilege
Suffer through the incoherent ramblings of these leftist psychopaths long enough, and you’ll see a very consistent narrative develop. Every perceived advantage is a “privilege” that must be stamped out at all costs, hence Carson’s glee that white men are “rightfully” dying off.
Have a look at Mackenzie Holst‘s Facebook cover photo, and tell me this woman is a staunch opponent of sexism and gender based oppression. Tell me that her co-authors are to be taken seriously complaining about sexism, as they read off a letter she helped to write.
These people don’t oppose sexism. Sexism is just fine when it fits their narrative. They oppose the perceived privilege that comes with being male.
Which brings us back to their detachment from reality. They believe that men are oppressing women, which is why it’s perfectly fine to post horribly misandrist content like this that outright calls for a policy to exterminate half of the human race, and render reproduction impossible.
Apparently they failed to take notice that we live in a society where men are 90+% of the prison population, and women claim they are being oppressed. It must have slipped by their radar, that we live in a world where men are just plain viewed as disposable, we work the most dangerous jobs, we suffer the vast majority of war casualties, even as non-combatants, we are genetically predispositioned to put our lives on the line to defend women, and women claim they are treated as inferiors.
I Blame Konkin
One semi-enjoyable work of fiction I encountered in my early libertarian studies was Sam Konkin’s “New Libertarian Manifesto“. The name of the book itself sort of goes along with the “Second Wave Libertarianism” narrative Massimino passes his anti-libertarianism off as. If you’ve heard the term “agorism” you can thank Konkin.
There is nothing wrong with agorism as an activity, but as an ideology, it is a fucking plague. Konkin wasn’t just trying to accomplish the abolition of the State, he was trying to bring about an end to capitalism. In an interview, Konkin was asked about the difference between agorists and anarcho-capitalists. He said “First and foremost, agorists stress the Entrepreneur, see non-statist Capitalists (in the sense of holders of capital, not necessary ideologically aware) as relatively neutral drone-like non-innovators”.
This outright dismissal of what it takes to build capital for investment could just as easily be spoken today by Elizabeth Warren or Barack Obama. “You didn’t build that”
As Konkin saw it, everybody could basically just work as independent contractors, dealing directly with clients, thus avoiding not only withholding taxes on wages, but also feeding into the capitalist system. As he saw it, all workers should own their businesses, and that anything less was some kind of oppression.
First, there is a fatal flaw which not only vitiates Konkin’s agoric strategy but also permits him to evade the whole problem of organization (see below). This is Konkin’s astonishing view that working for wages is somehow non-market or anti-libertarian, and would disappear in a free society. Konkin claims to be an Austrian free-market economist, and how he can say that a voluntary sale of one’s labor for money is somehow illegitimate or unlibertarian passeth understanding. Furthermore, it is simply absurd for him to think that in the free market of the future, wage-labor will disappear. Independent contracting, as lovable as some might see it, is simply grossly uneconomic for manufacturing activity. The transactions costs would be far too high. It is absurd, for example, to think of automobile manufacturing conducted by self-employed independent contractors. Furthermore, Konkin is clearly unfamiliar with the fact that the emergence of wage-labor was an enormous boon for many thousands of poor workers and saved them from starvation.
No wonder ISFLC attendees wanted to kill Rothbard.
Leftists Will Accomplish Nothing, and Neither Will Libertarians Who Help Them
As Rothbard put it;
It is indeed fortunate for liberty that the left-anarchists have about as much chance of victory as some of our conservatives have to restore the Bourbon dynasty. For if they did, we would soon find that the embrace of left-anarchy is the embrace of death.
I don’t fear a left anarchist society coming to fruition. The impossibility of that has been spelled out so many times, in so many ways, by so many people, myself included, that it’s really not even worth addressing anymore. I don’t for a moment believe these people will accomplish anything more noteworthy than hurling epithets like “racist” at distinguished, respectable figures like Ron Paul. I don’t even think they’ll ever manage to entirely hijack the word libertarian.
In their efforts to redefine libertarianism as drug induced homosexual anticapitalism, they will do nothing more than waste our time. Unfortunately, time is a commodity in even shorter supply than money. The State advances by the second, and in 50 years, libertarians have done less than nothing to thwart that advancement.
Instead of fighting the State, instead of discussing rational economics with people who are grounded in reality, instead of promoting free association, libertarians are entirely too frequently compelled to distract from their efforts and remind people that these communists are the fucking enemy. We are otherwise left to watch helplessly as their incoherent populist psychobabble seeps into and corrodes once semi-respectable institutions like the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and the Free State Project, to name just a few. To see people like Jeffrey Tucker, and Larken Rose fall in line with this nonsense, leads me to fear that humanity’s extinction is near at hand, and there is nothing that we can do to stop it.
To see Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano help them spread this garbage by attending their conferences, and driving up ticket sales, even as they are shouted down and insulted, just makes me want to throw my keyboard through my monitor and give up. What can I do to advance this cause, while big names like that lure well intentioned young people into the clutches of our enemies?
That’s why I’m exhausted. I don’t mind working my ass off for liberty. I take a great deal of pleasure in advancing these ideas. I don’t even mind combating our ideological rivals, that’s kinda my thing, actually. But to watch our allies feed, and even become our enemies, to calculate the staggering loss that this represents, that just knocks the wind right out of me.
I’m not kidding, I’m seriously thinking about quitting. So if you appreciate the work I do, please consider donating, or advertising here, or shopping through my sponsors. If money is tight, I could also use some volunteers.
Subscribe via email and never miss another post!